Almost all of us wake up feeling groggy from time to time. When we’ve had a bad night’s sleep, most of us will reach for the coffee pot for a quick, energizing caffeine boost. But have you ever noticed that a cup of coffee can sometimes have the opposite effect?
If you’ve ever thought, “coffee makes me tired,” then this article is for you. We’ll be exploring what happens to the body when we drink coffee, and why some people may experience tiredness rather than alertness as a result of consuming caffeine. Keep reading to find out — is coffee making me tired?
Why Does Coffee Make Me Tired?
Wondering “why does caffeine make me tired?” If you find yourself getting sleepy a few hours after a cup of coffee, you may be feeling a little confused — isn’t caffeine meant to give you an energy boost and wake you up? Well, if you’re getting sleepy after caffeine, you aren’t alone.
It turns out, the reason you may feel tired rather than alert after a cup of coffee, is thanks to an indirect effect of caffeine in coffee on the body.
What Happens to the Body When We Drink Coffee or Caffeine?
In order to understand why we sometimes become sleepy after drinking coffee, let’s take a look at what actually happens to the body and the central nervous system when we drink caffeine.
Caffeine Blocks Adenosine
Wondering, “does coffee make me sleepy?” One of the reasons you may be getting tired after coffee is that caffeine blocks the adenosine chemical. Adenosine is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle in the body and the brain. Levels of the chemical increase during the day and decrease at night, making you doze off to sleep.
When you drink caffeine, adenosine can no longer be received by adenosine receptors. However, the production of the chemical doesn’t stop. This means that once the caffeine wears off, you may have a build-up of adenosine. This build-up can lead to tiredness.
Coffee is a Diuretic
Coffee is also a diuretic, meaning it gives you the urge to urinate more frequently. Some diuretics can increase the risk of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to an increased heart rate and lower blood pressure, which, in turn, can cause a feeling of fatigue.
While dehydration is known to cause tiredness, it’s unclear whether coffee does actually result in dehydration. Some studies have shown that coffee doesn’t have a significant impact on the body’s urination.
Coffee Sometimes Contains Sugar
If you tend to add a spoonful or two of sugar to your cup of coffee, this may be the reason for your sluggishness during the day. Consuming high quantities of sugar can result in a “sugar crash.” When the body has processed the sugar from your drink, you may experience a slump in energy. This usually occurs an hour to two hours after sugar consumption.
Why Does Caffeine Make Me Sleepy? The Caffeine Crash
A caffeine crash is similar to the sugar crash. After caffeine stimulates the nervous system, making you feel awake and alert, you may experience a slump after the effects wear off. Essentially, caffeine delays your tiredness. If you aren’t sleeping well, or you are drinking too much coffee, the caffeine crash can be pretty severe, and very noticeable.
When is the Best Time to Drink Caffeine?
If you are a coffee drinker, it’s best to keep your caffeine intake to a minimum and reserve your coffee for the morning hours. This is because caffeine has a five hour half-life — five hours after your morning coffee, it will still be in your system. This can make it hard to get to sleep, and can even result in insomnia.
How Can You Stop Feeling Tired After Coffee?
If you can’t say goodbye to your morning cup of coffee, but you’re looking for a solution to the groggy caffeine crash, here are some solutions you can try.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When the effects of caffeine wear off, you’ll start to feel just as tired as you should be feeling — if you’ve had a great night’s sleep, you probably won’t feel that tired at all!
In order to minimize the effects of the dreaded caffeine crash, focus on creating a healthy, restful sleep schedule. Aim to get your full eight hours every night, turn off all digital screens before bed, and do some gentle stretching or meditation before dozing off.
By putting the emphasis on getting a good night’s sleep, you’ll reduce the impact of the caffeine crash, and feel much more stable and energized throughout the day.
Give Up Late Afternoon and Evening Coffees
Drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or evening can disrupt sleep patterns and make you feel tired the next day. According to this study, caffeine consumed in the afternoon can affect sleep up to six hours prior to your bedtime. So, avoid drinking coffee unless it’s over six hours before you’d like to doze off.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Too much caffeine can make you even more drowsy than you were before. The more caffeine in the coffee you drink, the more tired you will feel after the stimulant wears off. This is because even more adenosine will build up, causing even more fatigue as receptors try to catch up and process the chemical.
Why Do Energy Drinks Make Me Sleepy?
Coffee makes me sleepy — why not try an energy drink instead? It turns out, it may have the same effect. If you’ve ever reached for an energy drink for your energy boost, you may have been surprised that, like coffee, you experienced a horrible crash after a few hours. Most energy drinks are made with both sugar and caffeine — these two ingredients have both been shown to result in a crash a few hours after consumption.
What Are Some Other Drinks That Won’t Make Me Tired?
Looking for some healthy coffee-free alternatives for your morning energy boost?
Drinks with B Vitamins
While B Vitamins won’t give you the same energy kick as a cup of coffee, they are essential to our energy levels. B vitamins prevent anemia and help with nerve and blood cell health. Try drinking cow’s milk or a spinach smoothie to get a good dose of vitamin B.
Coconut water is filled with electrolytes. These minerals are necessary for balancing the water levels in the body to a neutral pH. If you are low on electrolytes, you may experience fatigue, twitchiness, or muscle pain. Start your day with a glass of coconut water to feel revitalized for your day.
Green juices contain plenty of ingredients to give you a healthy boost in the morning. With a green juice, you’ll get a dose of a cocktail of nutrients that will help your body to function the way it should. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the crash!
Staying hydrated is the best way to stay energized. And nothing keeps you hydrated better than regular (filtered) tap water. Be sure to drink plenty throughout the day to keep your energy up!
So, why does coffee make me sleepy? While a cup of strong coffee can sometimes give you that essential boost of energy after a difficult sleep, sometimes, the negative side effects (like the dreaded crash) are hard to deal with. If you find that caffeine makes you more sleepy than you were before your daily coffee, it’s probably time to start thinking about other ways you can get your daily energy boost.
Have you experienced tiredness after drinking coffee? Do you have a caffeine-free beverage routine that works? Let us know below!