As a stimulant, coffee boosts energy levels and can make you feel more alert. However, coffee is a complex beverage, and at times can make you feel tired. But it’s actually not the cup of Joe coffee that makes you sleepy or tired.
Its how the coffee affects your body that may lead to tiredness or sleepiness. Here are various reasons why coffee makes you sleepy and fatigued.
Coffee contains caffeine (more shocking revelations below! 🙂 ). This is arguably the most popular stimulant globally. Its effects are not only quick but pronounced as it readily absorbed by the body. Though the effects of caffeine are desirable, its usage triggers a momentary brain imbalance. Although the body’s reactions to coffee are short-lived, when they wear off, the drop in energy levels can make you feel sleepy and tired.
If in your efforts at combating the fatigue you decide to up your caffeine intake, you are setting yourself for a circle of energy boost and rapid crashes. It’s actually not the caffeine that makes you fatigued but its absence. And in case you add sugar into the mix, what you have is a sure recipe for a drowsy afternoon.
If you love added sugar in your coffee, most likely you may experience regular sugar “crashes” each time following coffee drinking. Added sugars might be in the form of shots of syrup or whipped creams which often come as a standard with most specialty coffee drinks.
Although caffeine will literally trick the brain into thinking that your body is not tired, once the sugar in your coffee gets used up, your body may experience fatigue. This because your body processes sugar faster than it does the coffee which may leave your body without energy once it’s depleted.
If you enjoy drinks that are coffee-flavored which also contain lots of sugar but less coffee content, you could actually experience a sugar rush and the inevitable crash, rather than a caffeine boost.
Coffee Is A Diuretic
For years, caffeine has been recognized as a diuretic. A diuretic is any substance that makes you want to urinate more frequently or pass urine more often. Perhaps you have already noticed that after your cup of Joe, peeing becomes your best friend.
This gives credence to the theory that excessive coffee drinking increases your dehydration risk. Furthermore, drinking cup after cup of coffee to stay awake is likely to lead to a dehydrating cycle that will eventually make you even more tired.
Coffee Is A Vasoconstrictor
A vasoconstrictor has the tendency of narrowing your veins and arteries. This makes it even more difficult for your blood and vital oxygen to flow through easily. Combined with coffee-related dehydration, it can lead to low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate, negatively affecting your cardiovascular system. This can make you feel sluggish and tired.
It’s natural that you may want another cup of Joe to counteract these feelings but what you will be doing is to start the cycle all over again. Ensure that you drink plenty of water with your coffee whenever you feel tired!
Blocks Adenosine Receptors
If you tend to feel sleepy when you drink coffee then it could be increasing your levels of adenosine. This is the chemical in your brain that monitors the sleep-wake cycle. The levels increase during the day and only drop after a good night’s sleep. That is in flowing with the normal circadian rhythm of your body. The caffeine in your coffee suppresses the adenosine receptors.
You are likely to feel more alert if you have blocked the adenosine effect with caffeine. Later on, however, when the effect of the coffee wears off in about 4 hours, the adenosine which had only been suppressed may kick in making you feel tired and sleepy.
Minimizing The Effects Of Coffee
People don’t react in the same way to coffee. In itself, Caffeine doesn’t cause tiredness or drowsiness. The way a cup of Joe affects you depends on how it reacts on your system. Some people will feel tired after just a single of coffee while others can consume several cups in sitting or day and feel no side-effects.
If your cup of coffee tends to cause drowsiness or tiredness, there are several things you could do to minimize its fatiguing effects:
Remedy number one is obviously to cut back your coffee intake. Health experts recommend 400 milligrams as the daily limit (2 to 4 cups).
If you particularly like drinking sweet coffee and are looking for a snappy pick-me-up, dial back the sugar!
Remember that coffee dehydrates so drink lots of water to counter that effect.
Some coffee enthusiasts are lucky not to experience any of the adverse side effects associated with drinking this popular beverage. For the majority, moderate coffee drinking coffee is okay but for some, even that single cup of Joe is a cause of fatigue.
Coffee is not likely to make you feel tired instantly but over time, the regular intake of caffeine could, in fact, lead to fatigue. If you can limit yourself to 400 mg of caffeine daily or less and also cut back on the added sugar, in all probability, you will continue to reap the scientifically acknowledged benefits of coffee and avoid all the side-effects.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.