Why does coffee not wake me up? Different people react differently to coffee for various reasons, and some may still feel drowsy after gulping several espresso cups.
Coffee works by blocking your adenosine receptors from receiving adenosine that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.
However, it doesn’t stop the production of adenosine. Once the caffeine’s effects start to wear off, the adenosine binds to receptors, leading to fatigue.
Top Reasons Why Coffee Doesn’t Wake You Up
If you rely on coffee to boost your energy levels, you might be surprised if the drink that keeps you focused on your work throughout the day no longer works as it should.
Caffeine can lose its effectiveness on your body for many reasons. In the worst-case scenario, it can make you feel tired, sluggish, and frustrated.
Knowing why it no longer works anymore, it’s possible to make it re-energize your body once again.
1. You’re Dehydrated
Coffee consumption leads to dehydration since it’s a diuretic that causes you to urinate more often.
Coffee consumption can lead to low fluid volumes if you don’t drink enough water. Dehydrated cells can affect your metabolic processes and lead to sluggishness.
Caffeine also causes vasoconstriction when specific blood cells narrow and inhibit the blood supply to different body parts.
If you’re drinking a lot of coffee, take the proper steps to rehydrate yourself with water.
2. You’re a Fast Caffeine Metabolizer
The stimulating effects of a cup of coffee are noticeable after just 10 minutes. However, the blood’s peak caffeine concentration occurs after 45 minutes.
Caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours, meaning that after consuming 40mg of caffeine, you’ll have 20 mg remaining in your system after 5 hours.
But fast caffeine metabolizers absorb it four times faster, indicating that the fatigue also kicks in more quickly.
3. Is Caffeine Tolerance a Thing?
Caffeine tolerance exists. It occurs when the effects of caffeine in your body decrease over time due to regular consumption.
Caffeine blocks your brain’s adenosine receptors that release dopamine to inhibit sleep and increase arousal.
A high dose of caffeine can block up to 50 percent of adenosine receptors. However, regular consumption can increase your body’s production of adenosine receptors.
With more adenosine receptors in your brain, your daily intake of caffeine-based drinks will have minimal effect.
Fortunately, you can reset your tolerance by halving your intake or skipping it altogether for two weeks.
By reducing your caffeine consumption, your morning cup of coffee will give you the energy you need to exert yourself at the workplace.
If you rely on the stimulating effects of caffeine to kick-start your day or pick yourself up from a mid-afternoon crash, you’ll be more productive at work.
However, the energy provision will become less noticeable over time as your body becomes less responsive to its effects.
Fortunately, you can increase your body’s responsiveness by reducing daily caffeine.
4. A Lack of Sleep
If you haven’t slept well for about two to three days, you’ll need time to recover from sleep debt (the difference between the hours of sleep you need and what you get).
As your sleep debt increases, the number of neurotransmitters that cause drowsiness accumulate in your brain.
Caffeine usually blocks these neurotransmitters, but it can’t help you anymore if the levels get abnormally high.
Getting enough sleep is essential if you’re looking for a quick energy boost. Once you cut back on caffeine consumption, you’ll get a better night’s sleep and train your body to thrive without a daily caffeine fix.
Adenosine slowly builds up in your body during the day and makes you feel drowsy by suppressing the nerves.
Alternatively, you can try a coffee nap by drinking two cups before a 30-minute rest to reap the benefits. Not only will you feel refreshed after the nap, but you can maximize alertness for a long time.
Both dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters involved in your sleep-wake cycle.
While dopamine inhibits sleep and makes you more alert, serotonin promotes alertness and prevents REM sleep. Regular coffee intake disrupts this cycle and might lead to confusion.
Caffeine’s popularity worldwide is attributed to its potential to promote cognition, produce stimulatory effects, and enhance moods.
However, your genetics affect your liver’s ability to metabolize caffeine, meaning that sensitivity can vary from one person to another.
The CYP1A2 gene is responsible for caffeine metabolism. The number of CYP1A2 genes determines where you lie in the coffee metabolism divide.
Since the fast metabolizers have more CYP1A2 genes, they deplete the caffeine quickly and feel energetic for only three to five hours.
Slow metabolizers have fewer CYP1A2 genes and can stay alert for up to ten hours after consuming coffee.
Your body converts food into energy through metabolism. If you have a slow metabolism rate, you probably got that from your parents through the genes.
While you cannot change your genes, exercise improves your metabolism rate.
6. Coffee Beans and Brewing Effects of Caffeine
Arabica is one of the most popular types of coffee. However, Robusta and Liberica are cheaper and have the highest caffeine levels. Caffeine isn’t lost while brewing as it doesn’t evaporate.
The freshly harvested coffee beans are processed through a pulping machine that removes the skin and pulp.
After drying them to the required humidity level (8-12 percent), the next step entails roasting the beans at 160 ⁰C.
The type of coffee you consume and the roasting process can determine the amount of caffeine you get.
But if you’re looking for the simplest way to brew a strong cup of coffee, consider the French Press, which yields 80-100 milligrams of caffeine in a 4oz cup.
The roasted coffee beans are ground aggressively and infused with hot water. Ultimately, the caffeine concentration increases gradually during the infusion process.
Be careful, as steeping the ground beans for too long leads to bitter-tasting coffee. Steep the coffee for four minutes in a French press for the highest caffeine and taste.
The brewing process releases acids from the coffee beans, resulting in a pH of 4.85 to 5.1, which is considered acidic.
What Does Caffeine Do To Your Body?
Besides keeping you awake, caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and affects your body in various ways.
The first few cups of coffee stimulate your brain and cause alertness right away. However, too much caffeine arouses the brain and leads to confusion.
Caffeine is also addictive, and you might get a headache if you don’t drink coffee. People start to experience withdrawal symptoms that feel like a hangover in the morning.
Coffee addicts feel tired regardless of how much they slept the previous night. While coffee leads to alertness, the opposite is also true.
You’ll feel so distracted to be ineffective at the workplace since you’re on the other side of the alertness spectrum.
After the stimulating effects of caffeine wear off, it’s common to experience a sugar crash. It’s characterized by extreme tiredness, irritability, and inability to focus.
While a crash may result from insufficient sleep, persistent headaches might indicate addiction or dependence.
Refrain from consuming coffee close to bedtime and reduce your daily intake if you experience such symptoms.
By sleeping seven to nine hours every night, you’ll not only prevent crashes but also reduce your reliance on coffee to keep you awake.
Good sleep is essential for your health and reduces chronic illnesses such as dementia and heart disease.
How Much Is Caffeine Too Much?
Not only does your daily cup of coffee help you feel energized, but it also burns fat and improves your ability to perform strenuous exercises.
If you drink two mugs at a coffee house, you drink 16 ounces or more.
Two cups of coffee can lower the risk of several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
However, drinking too much coffee (over four cups) can negatively affect cardiovascular health. You’re also at risk of developing coffee tolerance, meaning you’ll have to drink more coffee to feel energized.
Due to caffeine’s addictive properties and the potential to increase alertness, it’s included in many candies and energy drinks. The actual amount of caffeine is determined during the brewing process.
A small cup of coffee contains 75mg to 100mg of caffeine. Other beverages that contain caffeine include black tea and dark chocolates.
Is 200 Mg of Caffeine a Lot?
While coffee is a healthy drink, over-indulging can cause side effects. Recent studies have shown that it’s safe for adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily, so 200mg is within the safe limits.
Unless you’re buying coffee from a coffee shop, it’s almost impossible to determine the caffeine levels. A strong cup of coffee may contain up to 500 mg, so reading the labels is essential.
Many people wake up craving coffee to perk up their bodies and prepare their minds for the day ahead.
If that sounds like your morning routine, you probably dread missing a cup (or two), as you’ll have a headache and other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
For many people, brewing a cup of coffee is routine. But if you consume more than six cups daily, you risk becoming dependent.
Over time, you’ll depend on coffee to avoid migraines and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Don’t make it a habit if you want to avoid these symptoms. While 200mg of caffeine won’t affect your health, you might still get headaches if you drink coffee regularly.
Some people get caffeine withdrawal symptoms despite consuming small amounts of caffeine.
Is It Better to Avoid Caffeine?
It isn’t easy to consider just one aspect of a diet and connect it to a health condition because so many other factors could play a significant role.
But the beneficial effects of caffeine are well documented. Besides increasing attentiveness, coffee offers some protection against heart disease and stroke.
However, if you need caffeine to over-exert yourself at the workplace, drinking coffee daily doesn’t make sense.
Drinking many cups of strong coffee does more harm than good. Not only is it addictive, but coffee tolerance can cause you to exceed the safe limits.
Extremely high intakes of 1,000mg daily cause insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure.
If you cannot take coffee sparingly, it’s better to avoid it altogether, as the high caffeine levels will affect your health negatively.
While coffee has some health benefits, including weight loss and increased energy levels, keeping caffeine content low is critical to your health.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider before using this beverage to boost your energy levels.
Besides keeping you awake, coffee can alert your fetus for hours, leading to sleep deprivation. Since the fetus needs to rest adequately, regular coffee intake can hamper development.
Coffee provides various health benefits if consumed sparingly due to its unique content of powerful antioxidants.
The antioxidants in coffee are incredibly effective at preventing oxidative stress and neutralizing free radicals.
While all caffeinated drinks can cause insomnia and headaches in some people, drinking water is your best bet to stay hydrated.
Why Does Coffee Not Wake Me Up: Final Thoughts?
It can be frustrating if the beverage that once spiked your energy levels is now your leading cause of exhaustion.
Caffeine keeps you alert by sticking to adenosine and disrupting your sleep-wake cycle. But regular coffee intake leads to caffeine tolerance, thus reducing its ability to inhibit sleep.