Why Does Coffee Make Me Tired And How to Avoid It?


why do I sleep after drinking coffee
The Waka Life Blog

Why Does Coffee Make Me Tired And How to Avoid It?

Isn’t the point of coffee is to wake us up? Then why do many people become more tired than they were before drinking coffee? Let’s dig further.

Initially, the coffee drink was created to serve as a delicacy amongst the elite. In today’s world it has gone far beyond the spectrum of pleasure, and has joined the necessity lifestyle.

All over the globe people now turn towards coffee as an energy booster, whether it may be in the morning or in the afternoon when you are falling asleep at your desk. Whatever the case may be, coffee is seen as something that we need to keep us going.

Caffeine in coffee

getting tired after drinking coffee why

One of the main reasons, if not the most, that you crave coffee so often is because of the caffeine that is found within each cup. The caffeine keeps you awake at all hours of the day, giving you the energy that you didn’t know you needed.

Depending on the type of coffee you are drinking, you may have a lot or a little caffeine caffeine content in each cup. Caffeine levels in coffee can range anywhere from 80-100 mg of caffeine for a regular sized coffee cup.

Reason fatigue occurs after drinking coffee

Coffee is supposed to keep one awake, not make them experience tiredness. However, that fatigue you might feel seems like a sign of weakness when you actually want to be filled with energy. 

What is fatigue? Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness that stretches more than ‘I need a nap.’ When a person experiences fatigue their entire body aches, causing the person to feel weak all over and in desperate need of finding mechanisms to stay awake.

People experiencing fatigue are overtired at all moments and often show signs of having little to no energy for any simple task. The fatigued person searches for food, drinks, and even sleep constantly; even if it is the middle of the day.

Medical care may be needed at times if the fatigued state becomes too severe for the individual to handle on their own. Fatigue may be caused by many different variables, such as anxiety, stress, medications, lack of sleep, and even from too much caffeine.

Here are several reasons why an individual may experience tiredness and fatigue after they drink coffee instead of having a boost of energy:

1. Too much sugar

avoid fatigue after drinking coffee

Whole sugar, syrup, whipped cream, or artificial sweeteners are making your coffee much sweetener than its original form. Coffee is a bitter substance naturally; it’s what gives coffee its strong flavorful taste. That bitter taste might be strong for some but it’s what makes coffee taste so good!

Unfortunately, when you rely on sugar too much in you life (whether it may be in food or beverage form) you can find yourself at a loss. After the sugar high passes, at some point you will experience a sugar “crash,” which could result in a loss of energy. Too much sugar (like that of which is added to coffee) could cause one’s body to crash at a faster pace than it would regular.

The sugar that is often added to coffee is processed by the body faster than the caffeine does, which would make a person feel fatigued even if they just drank a whole cup of caffeinated coffee. For some this crash can occur almost immediately after drinking coffee, whereas for others it may take several hours to occur.

2. Dehydration

Why do I feel sleepy after drinking coffee?

Coffee is a natural diuretic that causes you to need the bathroom more often. In fact it’s not the coffee that makes you urinate, but rather it is the caffeine that is found within the coffee itself. What is a diuretic? Anything that causes you to urinate more often than normal is considered to be a diuretic. 

The more coffee that you drink, the more water will be passed out of your system. If you are consistently drinking coffee you could be at risk for dehydration since you are losing water from your body when you go to the bathroom.

The loss of fluids from an individual’s body reduces the amount of blood that flows through the body as well as lowers blood pressure. When a person experiences a loss of blood flow and/or lowered blood pressure they begin to feel tired and weak; a sense of feeling fatigued.

So, it is not the coffee per say that is making you feel fatigued, but it is the decrease in blood flow as your body got rid of so much of the necessary fluids that it needs to feel energized. 

3. Chemical imbalances

As good as coffee may seem, it does affect each individual differently. Some people can handle large amounts of caffeine, whereas for others a little serves the same purpose to them. The caffeine forms chemical imbalances in the brain that change a person’s behavior, in both a good and bad retrospect.

The main chemical that allows us to remain alert and attentive is known as adenosine. Adenosine is accredited with regulating a person’s sleep-wake cycle and being able to distinguish day from night; when to be awake or not. As you burn off more energy the adenosine levels in the body begin to drop, causing you to feel more tired.

How does coffee come into effect with the adenosine? The thing about caffeine is that it blocks your brain’s receptors from receiving any adenosine, which once the existing adenosine wear off, can make a person feel drowsy. So, yes the caffeine will keep you awake, but at a certain point the brain’s receptors will run out of the chemical that is keeping them awake - leading to tiredness and fatigue. Eventually, once you sleep off the energy of the day, your body makes more adenosine receptors ready to be used the next day. 

For some people the adenosine levels wear out fairly quickly, whereas for others it can take hours before those levels are worn out. The difference in chemical imbalances between coffee drinkers results in the reason why some coffee drinkers feel more energy than ever after a cup of coffee, whereas other coffee drinkers are looking for a place they can rest their heads for a few moments. 

Ways to avoid tiredness after coffee

drink coffee to stay awake

Avoiding coffee seems almost impossible. If you can’t stop yourself from having coffee then how do you stop that feeling of fatigue that follows?

It seems like there is an inevitable cycle of drinking coffee, being awake, and then crashing (ready for another cup). Luckily there are certain measures you can take upon yourself to avoid being tired after coffee, or at least to minimize those effects (since sometimes you simply did not get enough sleep the night before).

1. Stay hydrated

The thing with coffee is that it is very likely to dehydrate a person without them even knowing that they are dehydrated.

Those feelings of being weak, having no energy, and being tired may not even be linked to the coffee or the caffeine, but rather be correlated with the fact that you are dehydrated.

The more coffee you drink the more is relieved, removing necessary amounts of fluids from the body. Since coffee is a diuretic it is likely for you to become dehydrated more easily.

To avoid the feelings of fatigue that follow having coffee, make sure you drink plenty of other fluids in addition to the coffee. Water is a very important fluid that helps regulate many parts of your body, both internally and externally.

Water can help your body stay hydrated even when your body is fighting off dehydration. The more hydrated you are the more you will be able to feel alert and energized, even if it is 4:00 PM and you are still at work for several more hours.

2. Limit caffeine intake

As much as you might want to drink endless amounts of coffee each day, you have to remember to keep an eye out on the amounts of caffeine that you are drinking every day.

Coffee is not the only substance that you ingest that has caffeine in it. Other foods and beverages that you have every day have some levels of caffeine in them as well.

The recommended amount of caffeine for an adult per day is 400 mg (about 4 cups of coffee), so be sure to limit the amount of coffee each day since you are also having other forms of caffeine as well.

It’s not the coffee that is making you feel fatigued, it is the caffeine inside the coffee that is making you feel this way. The caffeine affects our brain receptors and blocks them from receiving the energy they need, leading to feelings of tiredness.

In order to avoid the aftermath that caffeine can have on a person (fatigue, weakness) limit the amount of caffeine that you intake daily. Try switching to a less caffeinated beverage in the afternoon (like tea) or decaf coffee so that you do not ruin your sleep-wake cycle for the night. 

3. Avoid additional sugar in coffee

drink coffee without sugar

Just like children, adults experience sugar crashes when they have too much caffeine. At some point all that sugar fades away, causing anyone who had that much sugar to just collapse.

When there is no more sugar for your body to run off of your body, it will send out signals of feeling weak; signals of tiredness, loss of energy, and sometimes in an upset mood.

For most people, every time they drink a cup of coffee they tend to add loads of sugar to the cup to make it all that much more sweetener. At some point of the day, all that sugar from the coffee you have been drinking will simply run out, causing us to crash. 

A way to avoid that sugar crash that is associated with too much sugar is to limit the amount of additional sugar in your coffee. If you simply can’t live without your whipped cream on top of your coffee consider only adding whipped cream to your cups and not drowning the the cup in that sweet caramel sauce (again, sugar!).

Maybe reduce yourself to 1½ teaspoons of sugar instead of those heaping 2 teaspoons that you usually put into each cup. It is important that you make sure to keep your sugar content down to a minimum, and not overdose on the amount of sugar you are actually having, resulting in a disastrous sugar crash later on. We also love drinking our coffee black, so that is another great recommendation. 


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