Why Doesn’t Caffeine Affect Me? 6 Things You Might Be Doing
Have you ever felt like your cup of coffee never sets in? If you answered yes, you're not alone. Millions of people across the world who rely on their morning brew to give them energize complain about caffeine not working for them.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the science behind why some individuals don’t feel the effects of caffeine and some things you can do to start getting the energy you need from your drink.
Why Caffeine Doesn’t Affect You
Caffeine’s main function is to keep you focused and energized. If you’re not feeling these effects, one of the following reasons below might be why.
1. You Need to Catch Up On Sleep Debt
Sleep debt is the amount of sleep your body is owed over the past 14 nights. This is compared against the amount of sleep your body requires each night based on genetics.
If you have a large sleep debt, caffeine will not be able to make you feel more awake. In fact, caffeine’s effectiveness decreases as you decrease the amount of sleep you receive every night.
When you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, it can negatively affect your focus, mental health, and physical performance. Additionally, it can create a vicious sleep cycle: if caffeine is not working for you, you may try to consume more of it to stay awake, which can lead to staying up later and further increasing your sleep debt, leading to even greater feelings of tiredness.
Adenosine causes the sleepiness you feel, a chemical that accumulates in your body while you are awake. It acts as a neurotransmitter, signaling to your brain when it is time to rest and inhibiting the central nervous system. When adenosine reaches a certain level, you will feel drowsy and want to sleep. When you sleep, adenosine is eliminated from your system, allowing you to wake up feeling less tired and starting the cycle again.
Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, providing temporary alertness. However, if you are not meeting your sleep numbers, you will have a high amount of adenosine in your body, causing sleepiness even with caffeine present in your system.
Caffeine metabolism in the body is primarily carried out by the enzyme CYP1A2, which is responsible for up to 95% of caffeine metabolism. The genetic variation of the CYP1A2 gene can significantly impact an individual's caffeine metabolism.
If an individual has a genetic variant of the CYP1A2 gene that is not favorable, their body may produce less of the enzyme, leading to slower caffeine metabolism. This can result in a stronger effect of coffee and other caffeinated beverages on the body.
However, this can also increase the risk of health issues related to high blood pressure. On the other hand, a favorable genetic variant of the CYP1A2 gene is associated with rapid caffeine metabolism, allowing caffeine to be quickly removed from the body. Approximately 52% of people have this genetic makeup, which can make them less prone to the risk of health complications related to high blood pressure. It can also mean that the effects of caffeine may not last as long in these individuals compared to those who have a slower metabolism of caffeine.
3. Your Circadian Rhythm
Your body’s internal clock is known as the circadian rhythm. This internal clock, which operates on a roughly 24-hour cycle, determines when you feel awake and when you feel tired. Everyone experiences natural fluctuations in energy levels throughout the day, with a dip typically occurring in the afternoon.
The reason your caffeine isn’t affecting you might be because you are in a naturally low-energy period. Add on any sleep debt and you can feel this dip in energy more intensely.
4. Consuming Too Little Caffeine
If you consume too little caffeine, it may not be enough to have a noticeable effect on your body. This is because caffeine's effects depend on the dose and your individual sensitivity to it. Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine and experience its effects at lower doses, while others may require higher doses to feel its effects.
Some medications can alter the way that caffeine affects your body. For example, certain medication can slow down the rate at which your body metabolizes coffee. Some medications include:
- Heartburn Medicine
- Medicine for high blood pressure
- Antifungal medication
- Medicine for skin conditions
Medication can also increase the risk of unwanted side effects, such as jitters and stomach aches, while reducing the benefits, such as an immediate energy boost. If you're taking any of these medications and aren't feeling the effects of caffeine as quickly as you'd like, it could be because of this interaction.
6. You Built Up a Caffeine Tolerance
One of the most common reasons caffeine doesn’t affect you anymore is that you’ve built up a tolerance. If you’re drinking a cup of coffee everyday, eventually coffee isn’t going to affect you as much the longer you go. So, you’ll need to start drinking a little more everyday to keep that same energized feeling.
It is generally recommended to consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day–which is equivalent to around four cups of coffee. Consuming more than this amount may lead to negative effects such as headaches or insomnia, and may also indicate that you have developed a high tolerance for caffeine. To avoid these issues, it may be helpful to take a break from caffeine consumption.
However, if you are reliant on caffeine and decide to stop consuming it, it is best to gradually reduce your intake rather than quitting suddenly. This can help avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and irritability. The length of time needed for this process may vary depending on your individual level of caffeine tolerance, and a nutritionist can help you determine a personalized plan.
What To Do if Caffeine Isn’t Affecting You?
Now that you’ve identified the reason your caffeine isn’t affecting you, it’s time to figure out what you can do. Here are three of the best solutions you can try so that caffeine starts working properly for you again.
Get More Sleep to Lower Your Sleep Debt
You can lower your sleep debt by catching up on sleep every night and getting the proper amount to keep you well-rested. The recommended amount is anywhere between 7 to 8 hours. You should also keep your sleep debt under 5 hours.
Here are some things you can do to catch up on your sleep debt:
When timing your naps, it’s important to make sure you aren’t napping too close to bedtime. Otherwise, this can affect how you feel at night.
Reset Your Caffeine Tolerance
One effective way to start feeling the effects of caffeine again is to reset your tolerance. To reset your caffeine tolerance, you can try gradually decreasing the amount of caffeine you consume. For instance, coffee drinkers can switch to decaf for one cup a day. This will allow your body to adjust to the lower levels of caffeine. If you have noticed that it takes an increasing amount of caffeine to produce the same effects, this strategy may be helpful.
It’s important to remember that you’ll need to eliminate all sources of caffeine in order for this to work. Some drinks, like sodas and beverages, can contain caffeine. For instance, a Starbucks Pink Drink’s caffeine content is anywhere between 35-45 mg which is nearly the same as one serving of Earl Grey tea.
Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of which drinks have caffeine and which do not. Some soft drinks that contain caffeine are:
Increase Caffeine Consumption (Only If You Drink Small Amounts Of It)
The easiest way to start feeling more energized is by increasing your caffeine consumption. If you only have a small amount of caffeine in your system, it may not be enough for you to feel the effects.
Keep in mind that caffeine can have a lasting impact on your body, so it's important to be mindful of your consumption. To prevent caffeine from interfering with your sleep, you should determine your personal caffeine cutoff time. This is the point in the day when you should stop consuming all caffeinated beverages to allow your body enough time to process the caffeine before you go to bed. .
How to Get More Energy Without Caffeine
If caffeine isn't giving you the energy boost you need, there may be reasons beyond your control, such as genetics or a natural energy dip. Here are some other ways you can boost your energy:
- Do some exercise: This can increase your heart rate, release dopamine and serotonin, and improve your energy levels and mood.
- Try a cold shower: This can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, giving you a jolt of energy.
- Get some natural light: In the morning, natural light can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. Being outside is ideal, but sitting by a window or in front of a light box can also help. During the day, light can boost your serotonin levels and improve your mood.
- Short naps: A short nap can give you an immediate boost in alertness and also help you catch up on sleep debt for long-term energy.
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