Coffee is arguably the most popular hot beverage on the planet, and it’s known for giving people that extra push through the day, thanks to its caffeine content. Although caffeine is known for providing energy, you’ll be interested to know that coffee makes tired people under certain circumstances. Our bodies react with caffeine in many different ways outside of the renowned energy boost. For the most part, the reasons for coffee-induced tiredness are medical. Throughout this article, we will answer the question “Can coffee make you tired?” and offer ways to deal with the side effects.
Served with a Side of Mold
The thought of drinking coffee brewed from beans packed full of mold is enough to make anyone feel queasy. However, certain types of coffee contain a mold called mycotoxins, which can harm our health. One of the side effects of mycotoxins is fatigue, and it can easily explain why some people feel tired when they drink coffee.
Although mold and mycotoxins can be found in coffee, you should know that the chances of coming across such coffee are sporadic. Aside from mold in your coffee, there are plenty of other reasons to explain your fatigue.
People enjoy dairy in their coffee, even though it can have unwanted effects on some people. For example, some coffee lovers find that dairy irritates their bowels and causes great discomfort. However, when it comes to tiredness, there are amino acids in dairy called tryptophan. Research has linked these amino acids to better sleep when taken in the evening. When you pour a healthy portion of milk into several coffees throughout the morning, tryptophan can make you feel sleepy.
If you enjoy dairy in your coffee and keep saying to yourself, “Coffee makes me tired!” you should rest assured that the dairy likely isn’t responsible. Dairy only contains the smallest traces of tryptophan and certainly not enough to make you drowsy.
When you drink coffee in the chase of that caffeine boost, you may not always find it. Suppose you’ve been drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks for a long time and in too great quantities. In that case, your body will become immune to the energizing effects that your favorite hot beverages provided. Your body can become resistant to caffeine because of a rise in the number of adenosine receptors, which are molecules made by the body to promote sleep. Caffeine eats the adenosine, and the body makes more. If the body starts making more adenosine than the caffeine can eat, you will feel sleepy despite the caffeine intake.
Sitting on the other side of the argument, there is a camp of scientists that suggests that consistent exposure to caffeine has no impact on the body. This means that the levels of adenosine do not rise. Whether caffeine intolerance is fact or fiction is for you to decide; you can find plenty of further reading with a simple search.
Although mentioned just now, the differing levels of adenosine deserve another mention. Being a natural bodily molecule designed to make you sleep, it makes sense that caffeine absorbs it. This is why you feel refreshed and awake after you’ve had your favorite cup of java. All of this action happens in your brain, and it can take a while for the caffeine to cling onto the adenosine receptors. Once the caffeine has worn off, the brain may have built and stored adenosine molecules. These are then released all in one go and can make a person feel tired from coffee. Some people refer to this as a “coffee crash.”
Lifting Stress Hormones
Keeping on the scientific theme, stress is caused by a hormone in the body called cortisol. At normal levels, cortisol doesn’t have much impact on us. However, when the pressure rises, high hormone levels can leave us feeling stressed and full of anxiety. When this happens, a person should do everything they can to lower cortisol levels. Unfortunately, relaxing in front of the TV with a movie and a cup of Joe might not be the most soothing because caffeine raises cortisol levels.
Despite the negatives of stress and anxiety, they can keep you awake to an extent. Therefore, you may still feel that the coffee is doing its job. However, once you get through the morning, the imbalance in cortisol will begin to make you feel fatigued.
Do You Take Sweeteners?
Piling up spoonfuls of sugar into coffee isn’t for everyone; some use sweeteners instead. Sweetener packets are small but powerful and can add flavor to a coffee. However, sweeteners have a similar toll on the body to sugar, and you could be crashing out from sugar as opposed to caffeine. A sugar crash happens when your body’s insulin levels get too high. If you aren’t used to having sweeteners and start suddenly, you may find this as a problem. One of the side effects of a sugar crash is fatigue. If you’re dosing your morning coffee with sugar or sweeteners, you may want to try and cut it down. If you start to feel more alert afterward, you know that the sugar was to blame all along.
A Diuretic Disaster
When you have your morning cup of coffee and feel like you need to pee more than you usually do, it’s thanks to the diuretic qualities of the coffee. Diuretics are responsible for releasing water and sodium (salt) from the body. This means that if you forget to replace lost water, you may have become dehydrated. Symptoms of hydration include dizziness, dry skin/mouth, confusion, fatigue, and thirst. You can counter the diuretic side of caffeine by making sure you drink plenty during the day. On average, an adult should drink around 100 ounces of water daily.
How to Combat Caffeine Side Effects
There are several ways that caffeine can make you feel tired - the tough job is working out which one is to blame. The only true way to do this is through trial and error. As well as making you tired, caffeine can affect your body in other ways. Throughout the rest of this article, we will tell you strategies you can adopt to stave away the side effects of caffeine.
Having a coffee in the morning to get the gears turning is a standard. Having coffee in the afternoon and evening can also be enjoyable to some people. However, when you have caffeine all evening, you can find that you are tired but struggling to sleep at night. If this sounds familiar, you should swap your caffeinated coffee out for a cup of decaf. You will still get the same satisfaction of having your go-to hot drink, but without being wired all night long.
Up Your Hydration Levels
We discussed previously that caffeine is a diuretic, which helps the body flush out water and sodium. After you’ve had your morning coffee, you may find that you pee more than usual. While this signifies that your body is working properly, it also means that you are losing essential waters. If you lose too much sodium and water in your body, you will become dehydrated - this can become serious if not managed. To deal with dehydration, all you need to do is make sure that you’re drinking enough water. To break down drinks throughout the day, you should be having an intake of around 8 ounces of water every two hours.
Manage Caffeine Consumption
Caffeine can be found in many food and drink products, which means you should be mindful of what you are consuming. According to the FDA, the average adult should have no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. If you can only work this out in cups, this means that you should drink no more than 2 x 16-ounces cups of your favorite caffeinated hot drink per day. If you eat and drink other caffeinated products, you should lower your coffee intake accordingly.
Say No to Sugary Drinks
If you have your morning coffee with sweeteners or additional sugars, you should avoid having other sugar-containing drinks. If you ramp up your sugar levels too much, your body will produce too much insulin, and you will be fatigued by the sugar crash. If you want to carry on drinking extra sugary drinks on top of your coffee, you should reduce the number of sugars or sweeteners in your coffee.
To Summarize - Does Coffee Make You Tired?
Coffee is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide and is used as an aid to get through the day by many. Caffeine found in coffee is responsible for giving us a little boost when we need it. However, in certain circumstances, caffeine can leave you feeling tired. Caffeine alters hormone levels, which can leave us feeling stressed before an inevitable crash. Too much sugar intake in coffee can cause us to have a sugar crash. In some rare instances, mold in the coffee can leave us fatigued. If you practice good management, you can enjoy coffee without any issues.