Caffeine Tolerance Reset: How Long It Takes - A Complete Guide

  • By Patrick Dougherty
  • 16 minute read
How Long to Reset Caffeine Tolerance: A Complete Guide. A mug of coffee sits on a wood tabletop next to a calendar planner, pink watch, and glasses.

Have you ever noticed that your caffeinated pre-workout doesn't work anymore? Or the one cup of coffee you drink every morning doesn't give you the stimulation it once did? It's all due to tolerance: as you consume more and more caffeine, your body adapts and requires more to elicit the same effects.

That's why it's a good idea to do a caffeine tolerance reset every so often.

Right now, we're breaking down what you need to know about your caffeine tolerance, including how to do a "reset" that fixes it. We'll also cover how long a caffeine tolerance reset takes and share our best tips on how to reset your caffeine tolerance with minimal withdrawal.

Let's get to it!

Key Takeaways

  • Caffeine tolerance develops when regular use diminishes its effects, so you need increasingly higher doses to boost alertness and performance.

  • A caffeine reset involves abstaining from caffeine for a set period of time. It usually takes anywhere from a few days to 2-3 weeks to reverse tolerance and restore effectiveness.

  • Factors affecting the duration of a caffeine tolerance reset include metabolism, amount of caffeine typically consumed daily, hydration levels, quality of sleep and others.

  • Cutting back on caffeine intake gradually (rather than stopping abruptly) can reverse tolerance more comfortably, but it takes longer: typically over a few weeks to a month.

  • Lifestyle factors, diet and supplements (such as caffeine-free energy pills) can help to make a caffeine break more comfortable and effective.

  • Caffeine 2 is a low-dose (50mg) caffeine pill with nootropics that is a great tool for gradually scaling back caffeine and reintroducing caffeine in a healthier way.

How Caffeine Tolerance Works

How caffeine tolerance works. A comical image of a woman with mouth wide open, a pillow and coffee cups strapped to her face, holding two empty takeaway coffee cups up. As if she is trying to get the last drops of coffee. Suggesting a coffee addict.

Caffeine has a chemical structure very similar to that of adenosine—a brain chemical that slows down brain activity and induces drowsiness.

Due to its similar structure, caffeine can fit into adenosine receptors and block them – thereby preventing adenosine from sending “drowsy” signals in the brain. It also provides some central nervous system stimulating effects. The result is caffeine’s familiar feelings of more energy, vigilance and pleasure. (1) Genetic variations can affect the rate of caffeine metabolism, influencing how quickly the body processes caffeine and impacts tolerance levels.

Over time, regular intake of caffeine can make the human body less responsive to its effects, which is how caffeine tolerance occurs.

This means that your daily dose of caffeine creeps upward as you need more to achieve the same alertness and wakefulness that smaller amounts once provided.

Researchers attribute this tolerance to daily intake caffeine consumption increasing adenosine receptor levels in the brain. (2) Researchers have reported that adenosine levels in the brain, specifically, may increase by 15-20% with chronic caffeine consumption. (3)

Simply put, in an effort to make up for the receptors occupied by caffeine, the brain spouts up more and more adenosine receptors – so you’ll need to consume more caffeine to trigger the same effects. Plus, you may feel increasingly worse if you’re not getting enough daily intake.

Symptoms Of Caffeine Tolerance

Symptoms Of Caffeine Tolerance. An unhappy looking woman sat at a desk in a small room. She is  surrounded by files and empty coffee mugs. She may need a caffeine tolerance reset.

Caffeine tolerance can develop relatively quickly, often within a few days to two weeks of daily use, depending on your sensitivity and the amount of caffeine you take. People who consume caffeine regularly may notice tolerance symptoms including:

Regular caffeine consumers may notice that their usual dose no longer provides the same level of alertness and energy.

Reduced Responsiveness: Your body’s response to caffeine can lessen. In other words, the regular dose that makes you feel alert and energetic no longer works. This suggests that your nervous system has adapted to the stimulant.

Diminished Effects: Closely related to reduced responsiveness. As tolerance builds, the stimulating effects of caffeine—improved concentration, increased energy, and heightened alertness—feel weaker or wear off more quickly than they did before caffeine tolerance developed.

Increased Consumption: Since you don’t feel a boost, or the boost feels weak, you find yourself consuming more caffeine to feel the same effects. Daily caffeine intake that increases over time is a key sign of tolerance: your body needs more caffeine (or other substance) to get the same results you experienced previously.

Partial Tolerance vs. Full Tolerance of Caffeine

When you hit "full tolerance" of caffeine, the stimulant no longer has any effect. You could drink cup after cup of coffee and not feel a boost. In fact, you might even feel sleepy.

Partial tolerance, on the other hand, is when caffeine's benefits are diminished, but still present. You may need increasing amounts of caffeine to achieve the stimulating effects felt at lower doses, but the effects do not completely disappear.

What is a caffeine tolerance reset?

A caffeine tolerance reset is abstaining from caffeine for a period to reduce the body’s tolerance to the stimulant and make smaller amounts of caffeine fully effective once again.

By cutting back on caffeine, you allow your body’s natural sensitivity to caffeine to reset. Regular caffeine intake can lead to the body developing tolerance, requiring higher caffeine consumption to achieve the same effects.

The key to this reset is giving your body enough time without caffeine (or with significantly reduced intake of caffeine), so the body can adjust back to a baseline level of sensitivity.

People do caffeine tolerance resets for many reasons, including:

Regain Sensitivity: Reducing tolerance can make smaller doses of caffeine more effective, helping to restore the stimulant’s original impact.

Improve Sleep Quality: Overuse of caffeine can interfere with sleep patterns. A tolerance reset can help ease these effects, potentially leading to improved sleep quality. Read some tips on avoiding tossing and turning

Reduce Dependence: Regular caffeine use can lead to physical dependence and caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and irritability without it. A reset can help.

Health Reasons: Some may choose to reset their caffeine tolerance for health reasons, such as reducing anxiety or heart palpitations, which can be worsened by high caffeine intake. Learn about how to reduce caffeine side effects

How To Do a Caffeine Tolerance Reset

If you’re tired of feeling tired even after three cups of coffee or a pre-workout that never seems to kick in, chances are it’s time to do some spring cleaning—curbing the caffeine tolerance, that is.

By consuming less caffeine, you allow your body’s natural sensitivity to caffeine to reset. This process can reduce tolerance, making smaller amounts of caffeine more effective once again. The type of caffeine consumed, whether from coffee, tea, or energy drinks, can also influence how you approach a tolerance reset. The key to this is allowing sufficient time without caffeine or with significantly reduced intake, so your body can adjust back to a baseline level of sensitivity.

There are two primary ways to do a caffeine tolerance reset: slowly reduce your caffeine intake or simply quit cold turkey. Here’s how to approach both.

Option 1: Slowly reduce your caffeine intake

Aim to reduce caffeine slowly. If you consume coffee, green tea or energy drinks to get your day started or push you through your workout, gradually taper off. A good rule of thumb is to cut back caffeine by about 25% every week, over the course of several weeks. For example, if you drink four cups of coffee a day, aim to go down to three cups in the first week.

If you take a pre-workout with caffeine, knock back your scoop size every day until you reach your desired caffeine intake. You can also take a caffeine-free pre-workout and other pre-workout energizers we discuss in more detail below.

Option 2: Quit caffeine cold turkey

Quitting caffeine "cold turkey"—that is, abruptly stopping all caffeine consumption—can be challenging. But it's the fastest, most direct approach to resetting your caffeine tolerance. Here's what to expect:

  • Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms: Within 12-24 hours of stopping, you may experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms: headache, fatigue, irritability, brain fog and even flu-like symptoms.

  • Peak Discomfort: Caffeine withdrawal symptoms typically peak around 20 to 51 hours after the last caffeine intake and generally start to diminish within a few days.

  • Duration of Symptoms: Most acute caffeine withdrawal effects subside within 2 to 9 days, though the intensity and duration can vary based on how much caffeine you were consuming.

Tip: Whether you are reducing intake or quitting completely to reset your caffeine tolerance, before making any changes, understand how much caffeine you're consuming daily. Remember to include all sources like coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and even certain medications or supplements. Tracking intake can keep you focused, and it can also help you pinpoint a "coffee sweet spot" -- an optimal dose where you feel benefits without dependence or side effects.

Here's a list of common caffeine sources with dosages to get you started tracking your daily caffeine intake:

  • Coffee (brewed): 95 mg per 8 ounces (1 cup)

  • Espresso: 64 mg per 1 ounce (1 shot)

  • Tea (black): 47 mg per 8 ounces (1 cup)

  • Tea (green): 28 mg per 8 ounces (1 cup)

  • Soft Drinks (e.g., Cola): 22 mg per 12 ounces (1 can)

  • Energy Drinks: varies widely, typically around 80 mg per 8 ounces

  • Dark Chocolate (70-85% cacao): 23 mg per 1 ounce

  • Milk Chocolate: 5 mg per 1 ounce

  • Decaffeinated Coffee: 2-5 mg per 8 ounces (1 cup)

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: 65 mg per tablet (as an additive)

Additional tips for reducing caffeine intake or quitting cold turkey:

  • Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day to reduce headaches and fatigue, which are often associated with caffeine withdrawals.

  • Getting enough sleep, gentle exercise and stress management such as deep breathing, meditation or venting to a friend can also help you get through.

  • Take it slow, keep it gradual. Mix your regular cup of coffee with half decaf, and slightly increase the ratio of decaf-to-caffeinated coffee day after day.

  • If you are used to multiple cups of coffee every day, make your first cup decaffeinated and then your second cup half-caffeinated.

  • For variety and taste satisfaction, you can substitute caffeine-free herbal tea for your coffee as you taper.

  • Green tea is another great option. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee and also supplies L-Theanine, an amino acid nootropic that helps reduce caffeine jitters.

Did you know? After consuming a cup of coffee, peak blood concentrations of caffeine are reached within one hour. The half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours. This means if you consume 100 mg of caffeine at noon, by 5 p.m. you would still have 50 mg of caffeine circulating in your bloodstream. (4)

How Long Does It Take To Reset Caffeine Tolerance?

How Long Does It Take To Reset Caffeine Tolerance? A cup of coffee that is in the shape of an alarm clock.

So how long to reset caffeine tolerance? The reset process can take from a few days to a couple of months for healthy adults, depending on your usual caffeine levels and how much you reduce your daily amount of caffeine.

It's also important to remember that everyone is wired differently, and the individual responses to caffeine (or lack thereof) are going to differ. Some general guidelines:

  • Slowly tapering caffeine intake can take 2 weeks to several months (in extreme cases) to reset your caffeine tolerance.

  • Quitting cold turkey is faster. It may reset your caffeine tolerance in about a week to 2 weeks (although withdrawals may make that time pretty miserable).

Next let's check out some dietary supplements that can help you to succeed at scaling back your caffeine and achieving a tolerance reset.

Supplements to Help With Caffeine Withdrawal

When resetting your caffeine tolerance, whether you're reducing your intake or cutting it out entirely, you're likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms at first. Supplements may help.

These natural compounds can help raise energy, sharpen the mind, and otherwise fight the stress and withdrawal symptoms of caffeine detox.

Low-to-Moderate Dose Caffeine

If you're not going cold turkey, use caffeine to your advantage by downshifting into the low-to-moderate dosage range. You may find downshifting is enough to reset your caffeine tolerance. And who knows? You might find it works better!

The low-to-moderate caffeine dosage range is considered sufficient to achieve a mild stimulating effect, such as increased alertness and concentration, without the more intense side effects often associated with higher doses, such as jitteriness, anxiety, or sleep disturbances.

Did you know? The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends an optimal dosage of caffeine for performance-enhancing benefits in the range of 3 to 6 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (1.36 to 2.72 mg per pound), taken about 60 minutes prior to exercise. This low-to-moderate dosage has been shown to significantly improve exercise performance, including endurance and strength tasks. (5)

Stim-Free Support Supplements

MCT Oil : As a stimulant-free energizer, MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) oil is a powerful tool to use during a caffeine break, including as a pre-workout. MCTs are fats that the body can quickly convert into ketones and use for immediate energy, making them an excellent alternative to caffeine.

Beetroot: Beetroot is well-known for its ability to enhance blood flow and improve physical performance due to its high nitrate content. Consuming beetroot juice or supplements can help increase stamina and endurance, making it a natural, stimulant-free energizer -- perfect for caffeine-free days.

PQQ ( Pyrroloquinoline Quinone ): This nutrient acts as a cell energizer by influencing mitochondrial function -- the powerhouses of cells. PQQ can support the growth of new mitochondria and improve the efficiency of how your cells produce energy, thus helping with overall vitality and endurance.

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10): Another mitochondrial enhancer, CoQ10 is key for cell production of ATP energy. It's particularly useful during a caffeine reset as it helps to maintain energy levels and physical activity without any stimulants. Plus, it has long term benefits for the heart and brain. Learn more about CoQ10

B-vitamins: The B-complex vitamins play a critical role in energy metabolism, helping to convert the food you eat into usable energy. Drinking coffee has been shown to deplete B-vitamins. (6) If you have been a regular coffee drinker, you may consider paying extra attention to your B-vitamin status.

L-Theanine: Often paired with caffeine because it smooths out jitters, regulates blood pressure, promotes relaxation and enhances focus. L-Theanine may ease transitions off and back onto caffeine, potentially by reducing withdrawal symptoms and optimizing caffeine benefits at lower doses. Learn more about L-Theanine

L-Tyrosine : Amino acid L-Tyrosine may ease caffeine withdrawal by enhancing focus and mood through its role in producing neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. It also helps to fight stress and sustain energy, supporting mental clarity and reducing fatigue associated with cutting caffeine.

Citicoline: Citicoline enhances mental energy by supporting phosphatidylcholine, a key component of brain cell membranes. This benefit helps maintain optimal brain energy metabolism, improving mental alertness and clarity without the need for caffeine or other stimulating substances. Learn more about citicoline

Rhodiola Rosea: This adaptogen herb helps fight the stress associated with quitting caffeine by regulating cortisol levels and enhancing the body's stress response, thereby reducing fatigue and anxiety. It also boosts energy and cognitive performance, helping you stay productive without caffeine.

*Note: Nootropics, also known as brain boosters, are a class of nutrients that may be valuable for those cutting caffeine. They can help fight the brain fog associated with caffeine withdrawal. We've listed a few nootropics above; to learn more, check out our expert guide on the best brain supplements.

By integrating these nutrients into your daily regimen, you can support your body’s energy production, enhance cognitive function, and ease the transition away from and back to caffeine, all while maintaining your overall health and vitality during a caffeine reset.

Next let's take a look at some quality supplements that supply several of these different nutrients for helping with your caffeine reset.

Caffeine 2™

Caffeine 2 bottle, on its side with pills spilling out. A low-dose caffeine pill, Caffeine 2 is an effective tool for a caffeine tolerance reset.

If you want to gradually decrease your caffeine consumption rather than eliminate it, opting for a low-to-moderate dose of caffeine can be helpful. Performance Lab Caffeine 2™ is an example of an advanced low-dose caffeine pill enhanced with nootropics that complement any caffeine tolerance reset.

Caffeine 2™ supplies Caffeine 50 mg + L-Theanine 100 mg per capsule -- the ideal research-backed ratio for peak caffeine benefits with minimal side effects.

The full Caffeine 2™ ingredients list: 50 mg of Natural Caffeine from coffee beans, 100mg L-Theanine, 250mg L-Tyrosine, NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex: 500mcg Riboflavin, 50mcg Vitamin B6, 167mcg Folate, 2mcg Vitamin B12

Caffeine 2™ is designed to maximize caffeine performance benefits while minimizing side effects and crashes. In short, it produces a calmer, cleaner and healthier stimulation state.

Because it is low dose (50 mg of caffeine per serving), you can use Caffeine 2™ during your taper.

For example, let's say you typically consume 200 mg of caffeine daily and wish to scale back. With Caffeine 2™, you can more precisely reduce your intake:

  • Week 1 of taper: Take 4 capsules of Caffeine 2 daily (200 mg total)

  • Week 2 of taper: Take 3 capsules of Caffeine 2 daily (150 mg total)

  • Week 3 of taper: Take 2 capsules of Caffeine 2 daily (100 mg total)

  • Week 4 of taper: Take 1 capsules of Caffeine 2 daily (50 mg total)

With this approach, you can reset caffeine tolerance gradually and comfortably -- even more so because Caffeine 2™ supplies L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine and B-Vitamins to help take the edge off caffeine jitters and generally make caffeine a healthier, more comfortable experience.


Pre Lab Pro®

Pre Lab Pro. Black tub with white lettering with a glass of red juice next to it. This pre-workout is an ideal formula for athletes because it supplies low-to-moderate dose caffeine.

Ingredients: Red Beetroot Powder; Setria® Performance Blend; Natural Caffeine; L-Theanine; L-Tyrosine; Vitamin D3, Potassium and Iron (as NutriGenesis®), Himalayan Pink Salt, natural berry flavor.

Pre Lab Pro® is the “World’s smartest pre-workout drink," designed for smooth energy, focus and peak performance with no jitters or crashes. It's a great option for athletes who are doing a caffeine tolerance reset and cutting back on megadose pre-workouts. This formula supplies a low-to-moderate dose of 80 mg caffeine per serving, paired with amino acids that balance clean energy with calm control in the gym.


Performance Lab® Energy

Performance Lab Energy. Bottle against a lime green background. Performance Lab Energy is a stim-free energy pill that can help with caffeine tolerance reset.

Ingredients: CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10), PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone), Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), Black Pepper Extract (95% piperine), R-Lipoic Acid, 150 mg.

Performance Lab® Energy helps increase energy production at the cellular level without the use of caffeine or any other stimulants. Energy primarily works by supporting cells' powerhouse mitochondria -- protecting them from damage, helping them multiply, and optimizing their performance. The result is clean, whole-body energy from the cells on up. It's an ideal formula for charging-up your mind and body during a caffeine tolerance reset.


Performance Lab® MCT Energy Oil

Performance Lab MCT Energy Oil bottle against a pink background. MCT Energy Oil serves as a fast fuel source, great for energizing workouts and brainpower in the absence of caffeine.

Ingredients: Purified C8+C10 MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) from 100% organic non-GMO coconuts. Per tablespoon: 8.6 g C8 MCT (Caprylic Acid); 4.2 g C10 MCT (Capric Acid).

MCT oil can help anyone doing a caffeine tolerance reset. Performance Lab® MCT Energy Oil delivers C8+C10 medium-chain triglycerides: a clean and efficient energy source that may mitigate the energy dips and fatigue often associated with reducing caffeine intake. By incorporating MCT Energy Oil into your diet, you can maintain high energy levels and mental clarity, supporting your efforts to cut back on caffeine without the usual slump.


Performance Lab® Sleep

Performance Lab Sleep bottle and silk sleep mask against a lavender background. This supplement helps with sleep disruptions that may occur as you reset caffeine tolerance.

Ingredients: Magnesium (as Magnesium Bisglycinate and NutriGenesis® Magnesium), Whole Montmorency Tart Cherry (50:1 concentrated ratio), L-Tryptophan, Organic Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides).

As you work on reducing your caffeine intake to reset your tolerance, a sleep supplement can help your process -- especially if you're struggling with sleep-disruptive withdrawal symptoms that result in daytime sleepiness. Performance Lab Sleep includes low-dose melatonin sourced from cherries to gently promote sleep onset, plus antioxidants to alleviate body aches, two forms of magnesium for muscle relaxation, and natural ingredients that support the calming and relaxation of brain chemicals.



Performing a caffeine tolerance reset is a smart way to reclaim the full benefits of caffeine while addressing the diminished effects caused by regular consumption.

Whether you choose to reduce your intake gradually or opt for the cold turkey method, understanding the steps involved and preparing for potential withdrawal symptoms are crucial. Incorporating supportive strategies such as hydration, balanced nutrition, alternative energy sources like MCT oil, can ease the process.

Remember, the goal is to restore your body's natural energy levels and sensitivity to caffeine, enhancing both mental alertness and overall health. Also keep in mind that reducing caffeine intake is not a race. By following these steps and being mindful of how your body reacts, you can successfully decrease your caffeine consumption at a pace that feels right for you.

By following the guidance outlined in this article, you can effectively manage your caffeine intake, enjoy sustained energy throughout the day, and continue to reap the benefits of caffeine if and when you choose to reintroduce it into your routine.

  1. Ribeiro JA, Sebastião AM. Caffeine and adenosine. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S3-S15.

  2. Ammon HP. Biochemical mechanism of caffeine tolerance. Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 1991;324(5):261-267.

  3. Daly JW, Shi D, Nikodijevic O, Jacobson KA. The role of adenosine receptors in the central action of caffeine. Pharmacopsychoecologia. 1994;7(2):201-213.

  4. Evans J, Richards JR, Battisti AS. Caffeine. [Updated 2023 Jun 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

  5. Guest NS, VanDusseldorp TA, Nelson MT, Grgic J, Schoenfeld BJ, Jenkins NDM, Arent SM, Antonio J, Stout JR, Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Goldstein ER, Kalman DS, Campbell BI. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021 Jan 2;18(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4. PMID: 33388079; PMCID: PMC7777221.

  6. Ulvik A, Vollset SE, Hoff G, Ueland PM. Coffee consumption and circulating B-vitamins in healthy middle-aged men and women. Clin Chem. 2008 Sep;54(9):1489-96. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2008.103465. Epub 2008 Jul 7. PMID: 18606630.