///Can drinking coffee help you sober up after drinking alcohol?
Can drinking coffee help you sober up after drinking alcohol? 2019-04-01T16:23:41-05:00

Man drinking coffee at night in a restaurant

Can drinking coffee help you sober up after drinking alcohol?

This question has been discussed by everyone from college students to respected scientists.  And, like many medical myths, there is a reason why this myth has been spread for so long!

Here’s the truth: coffee can’t sober you up. Period.

This myth is very common– that’s probably because coffee makes people feel like they are “sobering up” more quickly, although they really aren’t. When you drink alcohol, your brain’s processes are slowed down, and the sedative property of alcohol can make you feel tired. Coffee, however, is a stimulant.

So, when a person drinks coffee after drinking alcohol, it can counteract the sedative effect of alcohol. This can make people feel like they are closer to sobriety than they really are because the coffee “covers up” alcohol’s sedation. But coffee doesn’t actually help to reduce a person’s blood-alcohol level.

If you have an alcohol level above the legal limit, not even coffee can help you out. UAMS’s Department of Emergency Medicine says it’s important to know that coffee cannot reverse the effects of alcohol. UAMS sees far too many patients in our emergency department who have had accidents involving alcohol, so we believe it is important to address this.

What does safe alcohol consumption look like?

Knowledge is power when it comes to alcohol safety.  There are so many excellent resources available– here are two sites that you should explore if you’d like to know more about alcohol and your health:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health

Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol & Your Health

You can also take this quiz to learn if your drinking pattern is risky. To get a more in-depth look at the symptoms of alcohol abuse disorder, visit this checklist. Then, you can see a pro and con list that helps you decide if you want to change your drinking pattern.


If you think you have risky drinking patterns, visit a doctor today. Start by making an appointment with a primary care provider who will give you the tools to build a healthier relationship with alcohol.