Wondering does caffeine help or heighten your migraine headache? Well, it depends. How much caffeine have you consumed today? What is your tolerance? Do you need a triple espresso shot latte or a mild cup of Joe to get your day going? Figuring out if caffeine is a trigger or a tool to relieving your migraines can be a bit tricky. We’re here to break it down for you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about migraines.
The solution for some is not the solution for all.
Research shows that caffeine can be a remedy for those bothersome headaches.1 However, it also comes with its share of possible negative side effects such as nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and withdrawal headaches.2
Does caffeine amplify anxiety? Put down the coffee and take a pause.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which can be bad news for someone suffering with anxiety. Low doses of caffeine can increase alertness, but too much can heighten your stress levels and produce symptoms of anxiety for some people.3 So take a pause- you have enough to worry about when you have a migraine.
How much caffeine is too much caffeine?
Did you know the average 8oz cup of coffee has 100mg of caffeine? For healthy adults, the recommended maximum dose per day is 400mg of caffeine.4
Tip: Don’t just count your morning cups of Joe. There are over 800 products that contain some level of caffeine including tea and chocolate-based beverages and products, sodas, energy shots, pain relief medications, and workout supplements.5
Your Zzzs are crucial to your migraine routine.
Sleep and migraines are directly linked, so developing good habits before bedtime can be helpful to manage and improve migraine symptoms.
Lavender on your pillow
Caffeine before bed
Consuming caffeine 3 to even 6 hours before bedtime can significantly disrupt sleep,6 and every Z counts when recovering from a migraine.7
Too much caffeine may extend your pain.
Caffeine is a potential risk factor for the vicious cycle known as Rebound Headaches.8 Once your migraine is triggered, you may want to reach for some extra caffeine for relief. Think again and be careful not to overdo it. These rebound headaches can pop up when a person consumes too much caffeine based on their individual sensitivity to it or overuses certain medications.8
On the other hand, if you try to quit “cold turkey”, you may be at risk for withdrawal symptoms which may also be a migraine trigger.8 Ready to get off the merry-go-round and add a new tool to your migraine toolbox? Try MOTRIN® IB Migraine Ibuprofen Liquid Gels for caffeine-free migraine relief.
Use only as directed.
“Caffeine and Migraine.” American Migraine Foundation, 12 Aug. 2021,
“Caffeine.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 17 Jan. 2022, https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html.
Pané-Farré, C. A., Alius, M. G., Modeß, C., Methling, K., Blumenthal, T., & Hamm, A. O. (2014). Anxiety sensitivity and expectation of arousal differentially affect the respiratory response to caffeine. Psychopharmacology, 1-9.
Commissioner, Office of the. “Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 12 Dec.
Kallmyer, Ted. “Caffeine: Facts, Usage, and Side Effects.” Caffeine Informer, 15 Dec. 2020,
Drake C, Roehrs T, Shambroom J, Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Nov 15;9(11):1195-200. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.3170. PMID: 24235903; PMCID: PMC3805807.
Blau, JN. Resolution of and the Recovery Phase - BMJ. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 1 Mar. 1982,
“Understanding Caffeine Headache.” American Migraine Foundation, 10 July 2020,