Why Does Coffee Make You Drowsy Instead of Awake? Best Secrets
Best coffee secrets?
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You’re on the clock, and it’s 3 p.m.
You don’t know if you can make it the next few hours.
...you walk to the corner store or break room and grab a cup of coffee.
You toss it back right away and wait for your second wind.
However, twenty minutes later, you’re drowsier than ever.
That coffee had the exact opposite effect!
Is this even possible?
Caffeine can make you feel really tired.
Today, I’m going to tell you some secrets why this happens.
...I’ll show you different ways to wake up when coffee lets you down.
Best Secrets Why Coffee Can Make You Drowsy
I’m not here to deny the plus sides of coffee.
It does indeed make you sharper and more proactive. Plus, it’s antioxidant-rich.
But it’s not always the right choice.
What’s the big secret I’m talking about?
Here are three reasons why.
Reason #1. You’re crashing
First, take inventory of what you’ve drank and your general patterns.
Is this your third cup today?
How long has it been since your last cup? What do you put in your coffee?
...this often comes back to sugar.
If you’re slugging back fancy lattes or dumping in spoons full of sugar, you’re suffering from a classic sugar crash.
Don’t buy that explanation?
Well, some coffee confections sneak in more sugar than a soda.
On top of being tired, sugar crashes can cause other not-so-lovely symptoms.
These can include a strange sick feeling in your stomach and light perspiration. Additionally, sugar crashes can come about when you drink it too fast.
It tastes good, and you need the energy, so you knock it back in under 30 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that simple sugars process faster than carbs, so what ensues happens quickly.
Here’s what happens.
The pancreas responds to the spike in sugar by pumping out insulin.
But your pancreas may supply too much.
This results in glucose depletion, which triggers the crash. And on top of being drowsy, you may note negative mood changes.
The real problem.
Here’s the deal:
With a sugar crash it prompts us to eat more sugar to relieve the symptoms.
Of course, this just starts the cycle all over again. If you suspect you’re a victim of sugar, not caffeine, solve the problem with fiber.
Has it been hours since you’ve imbibed?
You don’t take sugar?
You’re probably coming down from your last cup or suffering from a cortisol-induced crash.
If you drink coffee all throughout the day, periods of fatigue are normal.
Could you be drinking too much?
Stay with me and read on.
Reason #2. Because you drink too much coffee
Why are you addicted to caffeine?
Because it provokes the production of chemicals in your body that makes you feel awake and alive!
Where does it start?
In the pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland sends signals to your adrenal glands, located at the top of each kidney. The adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol, both “fight” hormones.
In fact, these are both actually stress hormones.
If we’re speaking purely from a chemical standpoint, coffee stresses you out.
It’s kind of funny...
...considering that many of us reach for a cup when we’re already stressed.
Naturally, if you drink a lot of coffee, one cup doesn’t do the job of three.
You drink consecutive cups to induce an oddly desirable state of stress. Over time, many physicians suspect this habit causes adrenal fatigue.
One key symptom of adrenal fatigue is actual, physical fatigue.
Unfortunately, this is frequently accompanied by interruptions in sleep.
A serious caffeine addiction will make you feel drowsy. But you can’t get the amount of deep rest you need when you need it.
Moreover, this elevated consumption of coffee is linked to an overall unhealthier lifestyle.
Those who drink serious amounts of coffee are more likely to be addicted to nicotine and have a higher risk of suffering heart problems.
Finally, back to those stress hormones.
Anytime we’re discussing cortisol, we have to address weight gain. Cortisol helps raise your blood sugar, so even if you’re not pouring in sugar, a crash still awaits you.
We already learned what such a crash does - it makes you crave unhealthy foods.
While I’m not against a daily cup (maybe two), constant coffee drinking can ultimately be the root cause of:
Reason #3. You’re simply that tired
Sure, the caffeine in coffee gives you pep. But it doesn’t completely eliminate your need for rest.
Adenosine is a neuromodulator that makes you feel sleepy.
Neuromodulators are usually amino acids or hormones. They impact the way nerves receive or react to chemicals and other kinds of stimulation.
The caffeine in coffee blocks adenosine from reaching its destination and knocking you down.
However, that doesn’t mean that the adenosine just disappears into thin air!
Actually, if you keep blocking it off with more coffee, it builds up.
You’re only delaying the inevitable...
...you need to slow down and get some shut-eye.
Furthermore, it’s thought that your body can catch on to how much coffee you drink.
It can counter this by releasing more adenosine to compensate. So as soon as your last cup begins to lose effect, down you go.
I can’t understate the importance of listening to your body.
More than being impractical, it’s very dangerous to ignore the body’s signals and natural processes.
A total, involuntary collapse is much worse than simply electing to ease off and take a break to recharge.
Best Secret Caffeine-Free Ways to Stay Awake
If your coffee makes you drowsy instead of getting you through the day, there are still healthy solutions.
Get more energy without burning out adrenals by trying some of these natural energy boosters.
1. Coconut water
While coffee may not be as dehydrating as previously thought, it can have a diuretic effect.
The truth is, enhanced hydration is mildly energizing and calms caffeine headaches you get when you skip that p.m. cup.
Regular water is fine.
But coconut water contains potassium, which is an electrolyte.
Electrolytes support so many bodily processes, from muscle function to nutrient absorption.
To be fair, this won’t have the effect that caffeine does. But it helps keep the body in good working order, and as a result, you’ll feel good, too.
It’s one of the best options if you experience withdrawal symptoms from skipping that coffee.
2. Green juice
Aside from high concentrations of nutrients, green juices are prized by many for the energy they provide. With green juice, you feel awake because your cells are awake.
Whether you juice your own, visit a juice bar, or grab a ready-made bottle, there are a few tips to remember.
First, make sure there are at least as many vegetables as there are fruits.
Even too many carbs from fruit can cause a crash. You can prevent this with fiber and water-rich vegetables.
Next, look for things like chlorella, spirulina, and wheatgrass.
Spirulina, in particular, is known to give drinkers an obvious increase in energy.
Best of all, you might find this is a “cleaner” form of energy than the caffeine rollercoaster.
Finally, if you’re not making your own juice, always look for additives.
Don’t add sugar.
Be suspicious of flavorings as well. If you’re using nothing but pure fruits and veggies, there should be no need for extra sugar and flavor.
Here is a Bonus for you.
You can substitute with a smoothie. Check out the health advantages of a smoothie over juices here.
3. B vitamins
If you’re not that attached to coffee, maybe a vitamin deficiency is making you more sluggish than usual.
Symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency include fatigue, nausea, and depression. In fact, fatigue is a huge marker of a B12 deficiency.
Energy drinks usually include a ton of B vitamins in addition to caffeine and other stimulants.
But they can also be pretty dangerous, on top of being total sugar bombs.
B vitamins are the only way to deliver certain energy-giving coenzymes to cells.
Good food sources include whole grains, beans, leafy greens, and animal products.
But to catch up on your missing B, and with special respect to vegans and vegetarians, supplementation can help.
You know, not just any supplement will do.
For starters, I only recommend whole food B vitamin supplements.
Garden of Life’s B complex is suitable for vegans and designed with energy and metabolism support in mind.
As with other whole food supplements, Synergy’s version is easy on the stomach and totally organic.
But the best of them all is one of my favorite nutrition secrets.
I don’t want to eat vitamin-fortified everything, and I often refrain from eating any meat. That’s why I use this vitamin B12 oral spray.
I keep it in the fridge and spray it into my mouth once per day.
Because it’s liquid, the boost of energy comes on way faster than waiting for a pill to dissolve.
4. A protein packed snack
If you’re dragging, feed yourself good, wholesome protein.
In the afternoon, the lure of a candy bar is strongest, but energy from protein lasts longer.
And don’t ever think your options are limited!
I can think of a ton of healthy, tasty sources right off the top of my head. High protein snacks to keep in your desk, break room or kitchen include:
Simple physical adjustments can wake you up without caffeine.
If you are in a situation where you can’t get up and move, focus on posture.
Sit up straight, with your spine balanced in perfect alignment with your tailbone. Tuck your chin just slightly to lengthen the neck, and breathe long, even breaths.
If you can move, you only need to convince yourself to do it. It’s hard to find the motivation when you’re tired, I know.
But once you get going it will be completely and surprisingly, just what you needed. A brisk, five-minute walk may be all it takes.
This is a great time to take care of any physical tasks sitting on your to-do list.
Sweeping floors, walking to the store, or even pulling weeds can get you focused on what’s in front of you and clear out the fogginess.
6. Revamp your surroundings
Sometimes you feel tired because frankly, that’s the kind of energy your environment carries overall.
Is the room devoid of natural light, is there a lot of clutter?
Is everyone else yawning, too?
Plan to take a short break outdoors mid-afternoon, or whenever else you may most typically feel tired.
Fresh air and sunlight are always refreshing!
In an ideal world, you could walk your protein snack to the park, sit and eat it in the sunshine, and then walk back.
The effects are honestly more restorative than a latte and a cookie.
Even if it’s not what you want to hear when you’re cranky and tired!
7. Accept your cycle
The reason that mid-afternoon slump bothers you is that it’s inconvenient.
You don’t have time for this.
Admit it - it’s anxiety. And a lot of anxiety is about resistance; it’s about having to experience something you don’t look forward to.
If you have the time to close your eyes for ten minutes, just do it.
I’m sure you’ve heard that in many cultures, mid-afternoon naps are normal and encouraged. It’s never taken as a sign of sloth or poor sleep hygiene.
Here is why.
This, one study suggests that a nap is more effective at making the afternoon more productive than a cup of coffee.
Furthermore, the need for a catnap may be built into your circadian rhythm - it’s just natural for you.
And if you’re middle-aged or older, it’s definitely good for you, as nighttime sleep quality decreases later in life.
Napping out of the question?
Then cultivate an attitude of acceptance.
Instead of dreading fatigue, educate yourself on why it happens, and know that it’s not the end of the world.
Final Word on: Why Does Coffee Make You Drowsy Instead of Awake? Best Secrets
If your coffee threatens to knock you out instead of making you feel awake, it can be slightly alarming.
Do you feel broken, are you sick, or does coffee just not work for you anymore?
The answer is usually no to all three.
While sugar crashes, over consumption, and too much work/not enough sleep are common culprits, search for solutions that ease the worry.
Make sure that you:
And above all: reserve coffee for mornings only, unless special circumstances are involved.
There are so many natural ways to get the extra energy that doesn’t involve addictive substances and comes with health benefits.
Has this ever happened to you?
How many cups of coffee did you drink before coffee just made you plain tired?
What do you think of adding an afternoon nap into your schedule? Be sure to share your thoughts below!