The coffee keeps me active and energetic like a Flash (Comic Superhero). If you are a coffee lover, then most certainly you have heard this fact about coffee that it makes you more active and awake. It is a well-known fact, and everyone agrees that taking coffee regularly makes you more focused and full of life. Whether it is studies, job, socializing, or performing any other task, you will be more robust and efficient. However, what if the same is not true for everyone? What if someone says my coffee doesn’t wake me up?
Like the fact that coffee provides you with energy and activeness, it is a source of deep sleep for some. There are many people to whom coffee is nothing but just a drink with no effects or benefits. For others, it makes them sleepy without any so-called alertness, for which caffeine is famous. And strangely, there are some people, who get even tired instead of relaxing, after taking a cup of coffee. So the question comes to mind, why doesn’t coffee wake me up?
How the Coffee Help Us Remain Awake and Active?
Before we go into a detailed discussion about why the coffee isn’t waking you up anymore, one must know how the coffee keeps us awake?
The main ingredient of coffee, responsible for energy and keeping everyone active, is caffeine. It is the key ingredient, and everyone becomes its fan due to its immediate and rapid effects.
According to this research, caffeine improves our overall reaction time and expands our logical reasoning abilities. Moreover, the study shows that it also gives a visible boost to your physical abilities.
The effects of caffeine vary from person to person. Though it affects everyone, however, it is also dependent on the size, weight, health status, and genetics of everyone. For some, the effects may be severe, whereas, for others, the same amount of caffeine may give nil or very mild effects.
Caffeine and Adrenaline
Caffeine, the key element in coffee, affects and stimulates the central nervous system. One of its most noticeable effects is awareness and alertness. As soon as you finish your half cup, your drowsiness is long gone, and you feel more active and alert as compared to some moments before. So why does this happen?
The reason is adrenaline push, which increases your blood pressure for some moments. In turn, this increases your heart rate as well as your pulse rate. In summation, all combined effects due to an increase in adrenaline levels make you alert and attentive.
It is a kind of addiction for most people, and they cannot perform their jobs and tasking without consuming a cup of coffee in the morning.
Different Effects of Coffee
A question comes to mind, why each coffee is having a different effect on every other person? Though there are several reasons that we will explain later, however, the main effects of coffee are the way it is prepared and its different types and serving sizes.
Types of Coffee
So, what type of coffee will keep me awake? The simple answer is every coffee is going to affect you in one way or another. The reason is that whatever the coffee type is, it is having caffeine, which will still affect you even if in a small amount.
If the coffee is listed as decaffeinated, it is most certainly free of caffeine, and you will not feel any of its effects.
Each coffee type is having a different concentration of caffeine. If we are talking about two main types of coffee, then these are Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica is used for some real aromatic and high-quality coffee drinks. These are having much better and pleasant taste as compared to others. However, Robusta has much more caffeine content as compared to Arabica. Roughly, Robusta coffee contains twice the amount of Caffeine than Arabica coffee beans. But Robusta coffee doesn’t match the taste and quality standards of Arabica beans.
Preparation of Coffee
The preparation or brewing of coffee is also responsible for a different amount of caffeine in a coffee. Though there are several methods to prepare a coffee in different colors and tastes, however, for simplicity, there is Espresso and all others.
Espresso is much stronger as compared to any other coffee type. That is why it will provide you with more caffeine than any other coffee.
Serving Size of Coffee
Though Espresso is the stronger choice, as compared to any other coffee, however, what about the amount of coffee? What if one person takes just a shot of Espresso and another is going for a regular cup of filtered coffee? Will the effect remain the same?
Obviously, the effect will be different. The shot of Espresso is much smaller as compared to a regular filtered cup. So the amount of caffeine in a cup of filtered coffee will be more than caffeine in an Espresso shot. Generally, you will find approximately 145mg (an average) of caffeine in a cup of filtered coffee which is much more than 64mg of caffeine in an Espresso shot.
So, in short, the amount and serving of coffee are also going to affect you differently.
Why doesn’t Coffee Affect Me?
If you are one of those few people, who are not getting any good vibes from a coffee, you don’t have to worry. Most of the time, if the coffee is not keeping you active or letting you awake, it is temporary. The fact is, maybe, for some days or weeks, the coffee will not affect you like others. However, let me tell you this is a momentary type of thing, and sooner or later, you will get the enjoyable effects of coffee.
Here are some of the major causes why your coffee is not waking you up.
1. Caffeine Tolerance Limits
As explained earlier, the key ingredient and one of the most vital elements of a coffee is caffeine. Caffeine is responsible for giving that adrenaline that triggers the brain and makes it active and alert.
Then what happens to these effects of caffeine that coffee doesn’t make them active or awake?
Story of Caffeine vs. Adenosine
To know about the complete story, we must know that the rival/ competitor of caffeine is also present in the human brain. These are known as the adenosine receptors. Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter inside the brain, which acts as an overall depressant to our central nervous system.
In simple terms, adenosine makes us lousy, tired, and sleepy. The more you are awake, the more adenosine levels your brain will have.
The molecules of caffeine have similarly structured molecules like adenosine. So when a person takes coffee, the caffeine molecules block the adenosine receptors. Therefore, your lousiness and sleepy behavior are suppressed, and you feel awake and active.
Moreover, due to adenosine blocking, the dopamine levels are also increased. This element is also responsible for better alertness, focus, and energetic behavior.
Now after understanding this whole background story, what if a person consumes too much caffeine? Caffeine is not only present in coffee but tea as well as energy drinks and others.
So a time comes, when due to constant consumption of caffeine, your body produces more adenosine receptors than normal. It means that now you have reached your caffeine tolerance limits, and your body doesn’t get affected by the normal amount of coffee you are drinking.
This doesn’t mean if you were taking 2 cups of coffee, you now start taking 5 cups. According to FDA, one must not consume more than 400mg of caffeine per day. So you must never cross these limits.
A good therapy is to leave taking caffeine in any form for one to two weeks. In these times, you may shift to some other favorite beverage like green tea, mint tea, or ginger tea. After having a break for one to two weeks, you may continue your normal coffee intake.
2. Fast Caffeine metabolism
What if your body processes caffeine much faster than others? Is this possible? Of course, it is. Just like as the human body processes other foods in different ways, the same is also true for caffeine.
Though this term may be linked to genetics, however, same is not completely accurate for genetics only. Other factors such as mood, body temperature, environmental factors, etc., may also contribute to this.
The metabolism of caffeine may vary in each person at different times as well. For example, for one person, the caffeine will give more effects just early in the morning. But for others, coffee may be more effective just before noon. So each person may metabolize the caffeine in different ways.
The caffeine metabolism also provides us with a half-life of caffeine in our body. According to different studies, it may average between 1.5 to 10 hours. This means, for everybody, the effective time of caffeine is different.
3. Taking Coffee with Excessive Sugar or Sugary Syrups
Some people are just sugar-o-holics. Whatever they eat or drink, they want it with some unnecessary amount of sugar. If you are also one of those who use sugars or some other sweeteners in an excessive amount in their coffee, then your coffee is not going to provide you with all health effects.
First of all, consumption of sugars in more than the moderate amount is already bad. Secondly, the body metabolizes sugars at a much faster rate as compared to caffeine. So once you take your coffee with sugary syrups, cream, or sugars in an excess amount, you will not have the good alerting effects of caffeine.
This condition is especially true for sugary syrups, cream products, and sauces that some bigger food chains use to prepare different types of coffee. All such coffee products are going to raise the sugar level of your body. Once it is metabolized more quickly, it will dominate and cover the effects of caffeine.
So, as a result, instead of alert and awake, you will feel exhausted, tired, and sleepy.
4. Already Too Tired
In case you had a complete night shift or have been working continuously for 10 or 12 hours, do you think one cup of coffee will keep you running? The simple answer is, obviously not. The reason is you are already too tired, and your body needs some rest.
It is always recommended to have some rest after a tiresome shift. However, if you still need to work more due to a missing deadline or the extreme importance of work, you need to follow some routine.
Actually, after working continuously for so long, your body has already produced enough adenosine. As explained above, the longer you keep awake, the higher your adenosine levels will be. These receptors are going to make you sleepy and tired after such a whole tiresome routine.
So, in short, your body will need rest as the brain receptors are constantly asking it for rest. Thus, the normal caffeine levels are not going to counter the rest addict adenosine receptors.
To trick your body, you may get a quick nap before taking your coffee. For some people, it also works as a quick nap of 15-20 minutes just after a cup of coffee.
Initially, it was thought that caffeine is causing dehydration in the body. There were many studies in this aspect, and every group of medical experts had their own reviews.
However, in recent studies such as this one, this concept has been rejected. This article suggests that there is no evidence of dehydration if a person is having a normal intake of coffee.
Therefore, it has been proved that the caffeine is not causing dehydration in the human body.
But still, most of the medical experts believe that as caffeine in coffee increases urination, the caffeine is somewhat responsible for a little dehydration.
The point to ponder over here is that whether caffeine is causing dehydration is not an issue. Actually, the coffee addicts occasionally forget to take water and consider the coffee as an alternative to water.
This habit is an unnatural and unhealthy one. If someone is constantly consuming coffee and not drinking any water, then obviously, that person is going to feel dehydrated. Nothing can replace natural water, and one must not place a coffee as its alternative.
Once you are dehydrated, your body blood pressure is going to drop down. Even if you consume a cup of coffee, you will still feel sleepy and tired due to the fatigue factor. So, in short, whether you are taking coffee or not, stay hydrated. In this way, if you will take a cup of coffee, for alertness and energy, it will work like a charm.
6. Getting Caffeine from other Sources
As mentioned before, one must not consume more than 400mg of caffeine per day. But do you think you are consuming caffeine by taking coffee only?
For most of us, the answer will be straight away NO. The reason is caffeine is not only present in coffee but several other products as well. Sodas, energy drinks, and most sports drinks contain a high level of caffeine compared to coffee.
If you are already consuming a couple of soda drinks and energy drinks per day, how will the coffee make you active and alert? You are already reaching your caffeine limits using these drinks and sodas.
To be on the safe side, always ready the labels printed on the back of each such product. In this way, you will get a rough idea of your caffeine consumption per day.
7. Switched the Type of Coffee/ Brewing Method
The different types of coffee and brewing methods provide a different quantity of caffeine inside a coffee. If you have switched your coffee type or using some other brewing method, then the effectiveness of coffee will change.
For example, as explained above, Robusta coffee beans are filled with more caffeine content. If you have switched from Robusta to Arabica beans for some pleasant delicacies, then you are getting less caffeine. Your body has already been adjusted to that higher caffeine content of Robusta.
Similarly, if, for months, you were taking a whole cup of drip coffee. Now you have changed it to just an espresso shot. Then the caffeine content in both is also dependent on the quantity of caffeine and serving size. A cup of drip coffee contains more caffeine than just a shot of Espresso.
Next time, if you have just switched the coffee preparation method or type, observe the changes. If the coffee isn’t waking you up, then this may also be an important reason.
8. Genetics/ Medication
The effects of genetics, in terms of caffeine sensitivity, vary from person to person. If you think the same is not true, you need to study this report from Harvard School of Public Health. According to this report, there are a total of eight gene variants that are connected to caffeine consumption. Your genes are going to affect you differently as compared to others for the same level of caffeine.
You might have seen some people who become really alert and active once they consume a cup of coffee. Whereas, for others, the same effect is given by two or even 3 cups. So the reason may be the genetics difference of each person.
Moreover, other factors in this regard, due to which caffeine is having different effects are weight, height, health conditions, etc.
Similarly, sometimes the medications also make our body caffeine-proof. Some general examples are birth control medicines, anti-depressants, blood clotting treatments, etc.
So, if the coffee is not keeping you awake, then one of the factors you must consider is genetics and medications.
Relevant Coffee Questions
If the coffee isn’t waking you up, then some other questions may also come to your mind. Some short and quick answers to these are given below:
How to Wake Up If Coffee Doesn’t Work?
If coffee is not making you stay awake and alert, it’s not the end of the world. There are many other healthy alternatives as well.
First of all, make sure you are well hydrated enough. Nothing can substitute your daily water intake. Moreover, if you have a strong urge for caffeine, you may shift from coffee to other alternatives. However, if you have reached the caffeine tolerance limits, then most probably other sources will also not work.
To keep yourself active and alert, you may go for some stretches or yoga exercises. Just a series of simple aerobic exercises or stretches will make you feel energetic and active.
Similarly, taking some healthy fruits such as apples, mangoes or oranges, will also provide you with sugar and energy content.
A bar of dark chocolate will also help you in boosting sugar levels and overall energy.
So, you may try any or all of these simple and basic methods to stay awake.
How Long Will Coffee Keep Me Awake?
This question varies from person to person. The effects of caffeine usually start from 15-45 minutes after its consumption. Usually, the caffeine stays in the body for 1.5 to 9 hours.
However, all this depends on several factors as well. The type of coffee, brewing method, serving size, etc., are all the factors that determine the average caffeine timings in the body.
Therefore, the coffee will keep you awake according to your body structure and the above-explained factors.
How to Reduce Coffee Tolerance So that it Works
We have discussed in detail several reasons regarding the coffee not affecting you. However, this is not something that cannot be cured or fixed. Given below are some of the fixes that you may try to return you to your coffee alertness.
1. Take a Caffeine Break
It is one of the most tried and tested methods to get you back on the coffee track. The reason is once you reach your caffeine tolerance limits, you cannot expect anything from it.
The caffeine Tolerance limit is explained in detail above. A fix is to take a caffeine break for one to two weeks and then start again with a normal amount.
It is always recommended to have a break of one to two weeks every 2 to 3 months. In this way, you will never reach your coffee and caffeine tolerance limits.
This will kind of reset your system and adjust your body back to normal conditions.
2. Drink Faster
Some people consider this a myth. However, this really works. As caffeine absorbs very quickly, somewhere between 15 to 45 minutes in a body, so your slow sipping will make it ineffective.
If you take your coffee faster, then all the caffeine content has been absorbed by your body together. In this way, your body is energized due to a greater amount of caffeine.
So, next time you are facing a not waking up issue due to coffee, give this faster drinking a try.
3. Change the Coffee Type
If one type of coffee is not affecting you, why not change to some other type? There are a number of different coffees available, based on their types as well as brewing methods.
Robusta coffee, though less pleasant than Arabica, has much more caffeine content. Also, the espresso shot has much more caffeine content. But the same shot is used to prepare some coffee types like a latte. So, the overall caffeine content remains the same. On the other hand, a whole cup of drip coffee is filled with more caffeine content.
In short, try some other brewing method or coffee type and see if it helps.
4. Reduce the Daily intake
To get your body back on track, reduce your daily intake of coffee. For example, if you take 3 cups a day, cut it to just a single cup. Exercise this for a whole week or two. After that, move to 1.5 or 2 cups per day, and you will feel an extra energy boost.
The reason is your body gets back to normal and adjusts itself. So, try this reduced intake of coffee, and you will really feel something.
5. Identify other Caffeine Sources
Caffeine is not only present in coffee, but there are a number of other sources as well. These include tea, sodas, chocolate, energy drinks, and a number of other products. So, if you are also consuming an energy drink as well as some chocolates per day, then how the coffee is going to work.
All this again leads to your caffeine tolerance levels. If you are already attaining or crossing those levels with all these products, then how the coffee is going to work.
So just cut out on all other caffeine sources and then try your coffee as a sole caffeine provider.
6. Change the timings
At different times of the day, the body performs differently. The metabolism and consequently caffeine absorption rates are different at different times. This being said, for some people, coffee really works if they consume it early in the morning. For others, the timings may be different.
Therefore, if your coffee isn’t working for you, why not change your timings and give it a shot. If you were consuming early in the morning, take this time a little further and sip your coffee just before noon.
7. Switch from Coffee to other alternatives
And lastly, if you had tried everything, you might need to go on a coffee break. You may find some other healthy alternatives like green tea, mint tea, lemon water, apple cider vinegar, etc. All these alternatives are healthier and will keep you fresh and alive.
Then again, trying these for a few weeks or months, you may do a coffee test. And if the coffee still doesn’t work, keep these alternatives as your best buddies for the upcoming time.
Coffee Not Waking you Up? Reasons & Fixes
If your coffee is not working for you and don’t have time to read this whole article, check this quick infographic. Here all the reasons along with fixes are given, to make your coffee again effective for you.
Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up: Final Conclusion
In this detailed guide, we covered everything from types of coffee to the reasons coffee isn’t waking you up. Moreover, some tried and tested fixes have also been provided.
Caffeine is not the only source that will keep you awake and active. If you have constant fatigue, don’t just blame it on coffee. There may be some other factors affecting your body. Don’t just consume more caffeine to fight the fatigue factors.
So, tell us in the comments what methods you tried or what your practical experience with coffee is.