Why Does Coffee Make Me Tired? Helpful Information Update 06/2024

There’s a significant possibility that at least one of the medications you take didn’t operate as intended if you take many prescriptions. Your doctor most likely recommended a different medication in that situation.

Why wouldn’t a drug on prescription function? Simply put, it’s because each person has a unique body. Different people respond to drugs in slightly different ways.

(If you have any doubts, consider the many ways your friends might behave when using marijuana or alcohol.)

Caffeine is also a drug. It’s the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world. However, not everyone responds to caffeine in the same manner, much like they do to other substances.

To gain the short-term boost that caffeine often offers, the majority of us consume a cup of coffee, a soda, or an energy drink. However, for other people, caffeine seems to promote sluggishness rather than attentiveness.

How exactly does caffeine make you tired? Is it not a wakefulness-promoting stimulant?

It is, indeed. However, there are other variables that might be at play.

What Caffeine Does In the Body

People will typically respond to questions about what caffeine is by saying things like “it wakes you up,” “it makes you more aware,” or “it enhances your energy.”

These are instances of what caffeine does, though. It is a stimulant that interacts with the central nervous system, to put it simply.

The majority of the caffeine we ingest comes from plants, such as the cacao plant, the tea plant, or the coffee plant (which, of course, produces coffee beans) (which produces the cocoa beans used to make chocolate).

However, part of the caffeine that is now found in drinks like soda and energy drinks is artificial. Since caffeine’s chemical makeup is the same in both its natural and synthetic forms, their mechanisms of action are also identical.
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Caffeine doesn’t include a “magic component” that gives you the boost of energy that it is known for. Caffeine’s secret, like that of all other stimulants, lies in how it interacts with crucial brain chemicals. Adenosine is the substance that is most crucial in this situation.

A1 Adenosine Receptors

The body generates adenosine molecules all day long. It generates more of them each hour when we are engaged in physical or mental activity.

The need for rest is one of the messages that adenosine, which functions as a neurotransmitter, conveys throughout the brain. That explains why we become more and more weary during the day as the body’s adenosine levels rise.

Adenosine transmits information to the brain by attaching to clusters of receptors known as, as you might expect, adenosine receptors. Adenosine transmits instructions throughout the brain and body to encourage muscle relaxation and sleepiness after locking to some of them, the ones referred to as A1 receptors. That is a natural aspect of the sleep-wake cycle.

Caffeine, however, is one substance that can block the transmission of those “tiredness” messages.

Although caffeine might operate similarly to adenosine, it serves a different purpose. The A1 receptors are blocked when it binds to them. Because of this, adenosine cannot connect to them and transmit its message, “You are getting very sleepy,” to the brain.

Instead, until the effects of coffee wear off, the stimulant ensures that you are not becoming tired. Since a 5-Hour Energy only keeps you energized for roughly five hours, a cup of coffee only keeps you energized for a few hours.

A2A Adenosine Receptors

In the brain, adenosine also binds to A2A receptors.

A2A receptors do not contribute to fatigue, in contrast to A1 receptors. They are in charge of regulating the amount of feel-good chemicals and neurotransmitters released in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. They also maintain healthy levels of adrenaline, or “the hormone of flight or fight.”

Caffeine is a stimulant that releases serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. However, coffee prevents adenosine from binding to the A2A receptors, allowing the hormone surge to flow into the brain.

That explains why the caffeine in coffee or an energy drink gives us such a positive, fleeting feeling.

It doesn’t merely result in the hormones and neurotransmitters that give us vigor and happiness. Until caffeine releases from the receptors and is processed by the body, it also shields them from adenosine.

Blood Vessels

What you’ve been told in the past may seem to conflict with caffeine’s ultimate significant role.

According to studies, coffee boosts blood flow in various areas of the body by widening blood vessels. One of the reasons why medical professionals claim that coffee is helpful for heart health is this apparent vasodilation.

The brain, however, functions very differently. There, caffeine has the exact opposite effect, acting as a vasoconstrictor to constrict blood vessels and lessen blood flow. What causes that to occur?

The A2A receptors, one of our dependable pals, are to blame.

They instruct blood vessels to dilate in order to allow for greater blood flow when adenosine binds to them. However, coffee inhibits those receptors, which causes the blood arteries to constrict rather than dilate.

(Expanding blood vessels in the brain that press against sensitive nerves frequently result in headaches. Caffeine causes the veins to constrict, alleviating pressure on the nerves, which is why it can aid with headache relief.)

Why Does Coffee Make Me Tired?

Coffee is often thought of as the preferred morning wake-up drink, but the caffeine it contains may do more harm than good. Consider these explanations for why caffeine might be lulling you to sleep.

1. Caffeine Can Affect Stress

Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress that can be increased by consuming caffeine. Raised cortisol levels can put you on high alert and cause anxiety and tension, which might keep you awake at night.

Even though stress and anxiety might temporarily increase your alertness, they can also make you feel tired later in the day. The military approach and the 4-7-8 method can both help you relax and reduce anxiety so you can fall asleep at night if you’re having trouble falling asleep due to stress.

2. Coffee Blocks the Effects of Adenosine

Your body naturally produces adenosine, a chemical that can put you to sleep. When you consume coffee, the caffeine is absorbed by your body and travels to your brain where it binds to adenosine receptors.

The effects of adenosine, which give you an awake feeling after your morning cup of coffee, can be blocked by caffeine. Coffee can make you feel weary because your body may accumulate adenosine after the caffeine wears off and release it all at once.
Does coffee make you tired? Here's why

3. You May Have a Caffeine Tolerance

You could develop a tolerance to caffeine over time if you routinely drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage. Your body may start to produce more adenosine receptors in response to coffee since it blocks adenosine’s effects.

Over time, the regular amount of coffee may not provide as much of a pick-me-up if your body creates more adenosine receptors. A caffeine tolerance, however, may not actually exist, according to some researchers who think that prolonged exposure to caffeine has no effect on how the body metabolizes it.

4. Sweetener Can Increase Blood Sugar

You should investigate the possibility that the sweeteners you use to sweeten your coffee are to blame. Instead of a caffeine crash, sweeteners like sugar, syrup, or honey may really be to blame.

Your body may respond by producing more insulin if it isn’t habituated to the sugars in your coffee. Your blood glucose levels could plummet as a result, resulting in a classic sugar crash.

If you’re having trouble staying awake after your morning coffee, you might want to try taking out the additional sweeteners to determine if sugar is the main problem.

5. The Dairy Is Affecting You

Tryptophan, an amino acid found in dairy, has been associated with helping people fall asleep. While doing so can help you unwind at night, it might not be the best idea for your morning espresso.

Although tryptophan can cause sleepiness, milk only contains a small amount of it, so the likelihood that a little dairy in your coffee will make you sleepy is relatively minimal.

It might be worth giving up dairy in the morning if you test replacing the dairy in your coffee with a plant-based substitute and find that you feel more alert as a result.

6. Caffeine Can Be a Diuretic

Have you ever had a greater need to relieve yourself after consuming caffeine? That’s probably because caffeine has the potential to be a diuretic, aiding in the removal of salt and water from the body.

If you drink coffee without properly hydrated, you could suffer the following symptoms of dehydration:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth and skin

Make sure you’re drinking enough water along with your morning joe to help prevent dehydration. Adults should consume between 92 and 124 ounces of water each day to be hydrated, according to the Mayo Clinic.

7. There’s Mold in Your Coffee

In addition to the unpleasantness of having mold in your coffee, you might be having trouble staying awake due to the contamination that mold causes. This is due to the discovery that some coffee beans contain mycotoxins, a class of mold that has been associated with persistent weariness.

Unfortunately, the consequences of mold in your coffee might go far beyond mere weariness. Mycotoxins have been classed as potentially carcinogenic to humans due to studies linking them to liver and kidney cancers.

How To Minimize the Side Effects of Caffeine

Here are some suggestions to assist reduce the negative side effects of caffeine use if you wish to avoid the side effects while maintaining your caffeine intake:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises individuals to consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine daily, which is equal to two 16-ounce cups of coffee.
  • Avoid sugary beverages: Your blood glucose level may increase as a result of the sugar in your drinks, which could later result in a sugar crash. To maintain the caffeine but avoid the crash, try reducing the sweetness in your caffeinated beverages.
  • Water is the best diuretic, thus it’s important to drink plenty of it when ingesting caffeinated beverages. A 16-ounce glass of water or at least 8 ounces of water every two hours should be your goal.
  • Change to decaf in the afternoon: That pick-me-up at 4 p.m. might be leading you to stay up until the wee hours of the morning because coffee can linger in your system for up to 10 hours. To avoid having to count sheep all night, try switching to decaf in the afternoon.


Looking for the cause of your caffeine-induced drowsiness? Find out why coffee makes you tired by reading through these frequently asked questions.

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How Long Does Caffeine Stay in Your System?

Your body can retain caffeine for up to 10 hours. Within consuming caffeine, you may begin to feel the effects as soon as 15 minutes later, with the effects often reaching their height after an hour. Half of the caffeine remains in your system for around six hours after the initial dose, and it completely leaves your system ten hours later.

Can You Be Immune to Caffeine?

Being susceptible or unresponsive to anything is referred to as being immune. Caffeine is not something to which you can truly become “immune,” despite the fact that some experts think you can become tolerant to it over time. However, other studies have indicated that the effects of caffeine may lessen with continued regular usage.

Can Caffeine Have the Opposite Effect?

Although people frequently take caffeine as a stimulant to improve alertness, some claim that it actually has the opposite effect. Rebound exhaustion, which sets in after the caffeine leaves your system, or other factors in your drink, such as sugar or dairy, may be to blame.

Is Caffeine Bad For You?

Consuming coffee doesn’t harm you in and of itself. Caffeine does, however, have the potential to develop into a habit. If you regularly consume too much coffee, you may have adverse effects like anxiety, difficulty falling asleep, restlessness, and an irregular heartbeat.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on your intake of caffeine to consume it safely. For most adults, the FDA advises a daily intake of no more than 400 milligrams, or four 8-ounce cups of coffee.

After your cup of joe, if you’ve been having trouble waking up, it can mean that other issues are at play. To make the shift from night to morning a bit easier on your body, you might want to try waking up naturally.

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How long does it take for coffee to take effect?

The quantity of caffeine circulating in your blood peaks 30 to 90 minutes after consumption, but you may experience its effects as soon as 10 minutes after consumption. As caffeine is digested, you might stop experiencing the effects after a few hours, but it takes a lot longer for caffeine to entirely depart your body.

Can caffeine not affect you?

If you use caffeine frequently, you may become tolerant to it and stop recognizing the effects of your typical cup of coffee. An individual’s tolerance to caffeine may also differ.

Is caffeine bad for your heart?

The relationship between caffeine, coffee, and coronary heart disease has been the subject of numerous research, with mixed results. The outcomes might have been impacted by extraneous variables such different food habits. According to the American Heart Association, consuming one or two cups of coffee day is acceptable.

Caffeine “is more often associated with benefit than harm for a range of health outcomes across different measures of exposure, including high versus low, any versus none, and one additional cup per day,” according to a 2017 analysis.

How does caffeine affect your sleep?

You may have trouble falling asleep if you consume caffeine right before bed. You can still experience the effects of caffeine if you consume it six hours before bed. The half-life of caffeine, or how long it takes your body to eliminate half of the caffeine you consume, varies among humans and ranges from three to seven hours.

How do you flush out caffeine?

For a minor caffeine overdose, it’s usual advice to drink extra water, exercise, and eat. Taking herbal tea and doing breathing exercises can both make you feel more at ease.

Why do I get sleepy after drinking coffee?

Coffee’s effects on your body cause you to feel tired after drinking it. You might be under stress or being dehydrated, both of which can make you feel exhausted. Cheap coffee could include mold that makes you tired if you drink it. whereas sweet coffee beverages can lead to a sugar crash.

Is it bad to have coffee every day?

Coffee is not likely to be unhealthy if used in moderation. You should be safe as long as your daily intake does not exceed four eight-ounce cups. Your body and health could suffer if you consume more than that.

How long does it take for coffee to affect me?

Caffeine can start to influence you in as short as 10 minutes, although the effects usually peak between 30 and 90 minutes after consumption. The effects of caffeine can subside after a few hours, and if you’ve developed a tolerance, you might not be significantly influenced by it.

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