Roasted coffee beans and ground coffee in filter holder

Why does coffee make me sleepy?

Is it really the coffee?

top view of ground coffee in portafilter on coffee beans background

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase your energy and mental sharpness. Coffee is the primary dietary source of caffeine in the US. According to the National Coffee Association, 62 percent of Americans consume coffee every day.

Caffeine Supplementation with Coffee Beans

Caffeine doesn’t affect people in the same way.  Some people feel tired after only one cup. Others can drink several cups a day and feel no ill effects.

Coffee, coffee making and drip coffee in house

However, it’s not coffee per se that makes you tired. The way it affects your body can make you feel sleepy. Read on to discover more.

1. It’s because coffee blocks adenosine

Your body naturally produces adenosine, a chemical that can put you to sleep. When you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed by your body and travels to your brain where it sticks to adenosine receptors.

The effects of adenosine, which give you an awake feeling after your morning cup of coffee, can be blocked by caffeine. However, once the caffeine wears off, your body may experience a buildup of adenosine that hits you all at once, which is why coffee can make you feel tired.

2. It’s because coffee is a diuretic

Have you ever felt like you need to use the bathroom more often after drinking caffeine?   That’s likely because caffeine can be a diuretic, meaning it can help get rid of water and salt in your body.

If you drink coffee without properly hydrated, you could suffer the following symptoms of dehydration:

• Fatigue

Fatigue

• Dizziness

Woman touching her forehead while feeling dizzy having flu

• Confusion

Confusion

• Thirst

Thirst

• Dry mouth and skin

Adults should consume between 92 and 124 ounces of water each day to be hydrated, according to the Mayo Clinic.

3. It’s because of the sugar in your coffee

If you’re drinking coffee with added sweeteners, you might want to look at those as a potential culprit.  Rather than causing a caffeine crash, sweeteners like sugar, syrup, or honey may actually be to blame.

Different Kinds of Sugar and Sweeteners in the Bowls

Your body may respond by producing more insulin if it isn’t used to the sweeteners in your coffee.  This may cause your blood glucose levels to drop, leading to a good old-fashioned sugar crash. 

Blood cells and glucose in the vein

If you’re having trouble staying awake after your morning coffee, you might want to try taking out the additional sweeteners to determine if sugar is the main problem.

How to minimize these effects

If you don’t want to quit drinking coffee, attempt to follow the guidelines for daily intake.

Coffee cup and Coffee beans

Caffeine consumption up to 400 mg per day moderate. Depending on the coffee blend, this comes to two to four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee each day.

Tired man sleeping at workplace

While drinking coffee regularly over time may cause tiredness, the caffeine it contains won’t make you feel tired right away. You should benefit from caffeine and stay away from its negative effects if you limit your daily intake to 400 mg or less of caffeine and limit your intake of added sugar.

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