Typically, you would expect coffee to make you more awake and is the primary reason why people drink coffee in the first place, as it is supposed to act as a stimulant. However, caffeine is just like any other chemical in the way that it affects everyone different.
Some may only need half a cup of Joe to feel awake, and others may be on their 6th cup of the day and still feel as tired. But why is this and can you stop coffee making you sleepy?
Blocking Your Adenosine Receptors
Adenosine is the naturally produced chemical found in your brain that is responsible for making you feel more awake during the day time and sleepier into the night as your brain prepares you to sleep so that you can relax and feel less alert.
How this works is by receptors in your brain binding to adenosine, a process which triggers your brain into being sleepier. Caffeine works to prevent this, which is how it begins to make you feel more awake.
The problem comes once your body has processed your consumed caffeine (which can take various lengths of time depending on a range of health factors). When the alert effects of the caffeine diminish as your body finishes processing the caffeine, adenosine starts to be produced again.
This begins the task of telling your brain that it is time for bed as it is tricked into thinking that you have been awake for longer than you have. This is what makes you tired.
Adding Too Much Sugar
You may find that plain coffee and milk will make you more awake and alert but when you add sugar, that is when you start to feel the negative effects. This is because of the sugar crash you can experience after drinking coffee with added sugar.
Keep in mind that added sugar does not have to be straight sugar cubes but can also be any syrup or cream that are commonly used in specialised coffee drinks or coffee shops.
Just like if you eat a bar of chocolate, when you have too much sugar your body is sure to crash soon after it has finished processing the sugar intake. Processing usually takes your body 90 minutes, but it varies depending on your personal metabolism.
When you add sugar to your coffee, your body will first process the sugar and then the caffeine. So by the time you get that burst of energy from the caffeine as you want, your body is already mid-crash from the sugar, so you do not really benefit from the caffeine boost and instead, you will only feel tired.
You Have Built A Tolerance
Quite simply, coffee may start to make you feel sleepy because you have gotten used to the effects of caffeine. This can happen to those who drink the same types of coffee regularly at the same times of day, for example, every morning with breakfast.
There are various studies out there that suggest that regularly drinking caffeine does not change its effects on your body, but the potential side effects like insomnia can make you more tired regardless.
Some studies have suggested that people with ADHD get sleepier when they drink coffee, but it has been suggested that this is due to the chemical’s that help your brain be more alert and also focus more, which can be a calming feeling for those who have ADHD. However, there is still little proof of this.
If you have an important meeting or an exam – read this if you’re thinking of drinking coffee before it.