Most people drink coffee in the morning to wake themselves up, but it turns out that coffee doesn’t have this effect. Why doesn’t coffee wake me up even after three cups?
The answer has to do with caffeine, which is a psychoactive drug that blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine makes you sleepy, so when its effects are blocked, you feel more awake.
Why doesn’t coffee wake me up?
Although it is often said that “humanity runs off coffee”, some people can’t drink enough coffee to be able to function well or even stay awake. Why doesn’t coffee wake me up? It might be more than just having immunity to caffeine.
Coffee has many health benefits, including the ability to burn fat, lower your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, maintain a healthy liver, and lower cholesterol. Why do some people feel drowsy after a cup of coffee?
Instead of “get up and go” you feel like lying down and taking a nap. Let’s find out why your morning coffee makes you sleepy.
Does coffee make you feel drowsy or fired up?
Many people can’t make it through the day without their morning cup of coffee. Some people set the pot to brew coffee as their alarm clock, while others get a flavorful cup of coffee from their local coffee shop. It doesn’t matter how you get your brew, it’s the best way to wake up every morning.
Strangely, coffee does not have the same effect on some people. Caffeine-immune coffee lovers sometimes feel tired when drinking coffee. Although the reasons may vary, science can help you understand your coffee fatigue.
Why does coffee wake me up?
The brain’s adenosine receptors are responsible for the initial waking flash. Adenosine, a naturally occurring compound in the brain, makes up a portion of a person’s RNA. This is the messenger that creates and connects adenosine to a receptor.
Once the brain has connected the adenosine receptor to the adenosine, it causes a feeling of sleepiness. This is because it slows down nerve cell activity, causing blood vessels to dilate.
This is where you reach for your pour-over coffee machine to get your “get up and go” stimulus.
The caffeine in coffee resembles an adenosine receptor. However, caffeine will not slow down the activity of the cell because it isn’t technically adenosine.
As this happens, nerve cells fire faster and blood vessels constrict. Your pituitary gland will detect all the crazy activity and give you a healthy dose of adrenaline – your fight or flight chemical response.
We now know a little about how your morning coffee wakes you up. Let’s now look at why coffee makes you sleepy.
7 reasons coffee doesn’t wake you up
There are many reasons why coffee lovers feel tired after each cup. Here are some possible reasons this might be happening.
1. Caffeine tolerance
People react to coffee based on their tolerance to caffeine. As the body becomes more accustomed to caffeine intake dose after dose, it will have a different waking experience.
If you drink more coffee than water, dehydration could be a problem. Coffee is a diuretic. This means that the body loses more fluid than needed. To restore fluid levels, you can substitute at least one cup of coffee with 8 glasses of water.
If you drink coffee with sugar, you might experience a sugar crash. This is when your blood sugar spikes after the sugar floods your blood.
Your ability to fall asleep with enough caffeine to power a jet engine may be genetic. Each person has a caffeine metabolizer. Some genes are more sensitive than others to caffeine.
It doesn’t matter how much you drink, the coffee won’t give you the same boost.
5. You’re too tired
Another reason you might fall asleep after drinking coffee is that you are too tired and need rest, not more coffee.
Coffee can make people feel even more tired if they are overworked, stay up late, or have insomnia. They have probably reached a point where no amount of coffee can keep them going. They may need to take a nap instead of having coffee.
6. Type of coffee beans
If caffeine doesn’t seem to wake you up anymore, it could be because you have switched to coffee brands with lower caffeine levels. Robusta coffee beans, for example, have more caffeine content than Arabica coffee beans.
7. Brewing process
The brewing process can also have an impact on how coffee wakes you up. Filtered coffee won’t have the same kick if you make espresso in your morning ritual.
Jump-start your day with these coffee alternatives
If you think that coffee is not effective in keeping your eyes open, there are other options to help. These may not be as flavorful but they do work.
- Get an alarm clock. A light alarm clock will gently wake you up by gradually increasing light that mimics sunlight, rather than jolting you awake.
- Eat an apple or chew gum. Studies have shown that chewing gum or eating apples can sometimes give you a greater waking power than coffee. Chewing gum can stimulate the nervous system and increase blood flow to the brain, which can help you feel more alert.
- Hydrate. If you have been feeling tired, then maybe it’s time to swap your coffee for water. Water with lemon is a great way to jolt your taste buds with a refreshing, tantalizing treat.
- Switch to tea. You could try matcha which is an energy-boosting tea. This is a natural energy drink that contains an amino acid that enhances alertness.
- Do yoga. Practicing yoga can stimulate your body so you feel relaxed when you wake up. Combine the different breathing techniques and positions as you enter a state of wakefulness.
The answer to the question “Why doesn’t coffee wake me up” has to do with caffeine, which is a psychoactive drug that blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine makes you sleepy, so when its effects are blocked, you feel more awake.
It could also be caffeine tolerance, dehydration, genetics, or you’re simply too tired and need to give your body a break.