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10 Reasons Why Coffee Doesn’t Wake You Up & Tips to Fix This

Updated: September 23, 2023
Written by: Pzaz Team

Are you a coffee drinker who can’t seem to get their boost of energy? Do you ever feel like caffeine doesn’t affect you? If you answered yes to either question, then we’re here to help you. Many people struggle with feeling energized after their cup of coffee and today, we’ll be looking into the top reasons why this happens. We’ll also give you some tips on how to fix your caffeine slump. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

How Caffeine Works

Caffeine is able to keep you awake by tricking the brain into thinking it's not tired. It does this by mimicking the chemical adenosine, which is responsible for promoting sleepiness. When adenosine attaches to its receptors in the brain, it slows down nerve cell activity, leading to feelings of drowsiness and relaxation. Caffeine, on the other hand, can bind to these same receptors, preventing adenosine from having its usual effects. In this way, caffeine can block the action of adenosine and keep you feeling more awake and alert.

Additionally, caffeine can also stimulate the production of certain hormones such as adrenaline. This can give you an extra burst of energy. However, caffeine can also increase anxiety in some people and can be addictive if consumed in large amounts. Make sure to consume moderately to avoid these side effects. 

Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up?

While it’s easy to understand how coffee works, it's not always clear why it may not be effective for some people. There are several reasons coffee might not wake you up, so we found the most popular explanations. However, in some cases, there may be less common or unknown factors at play, so there’s not always a definite answer. 

Nevertheless, here are some of the most common reasons why your coffee isn’t waking you up. 

1. You’ve Built Up a Caffeine Tolerance

The most popular reason coffee isn’t working is because you’ve built up a caffeine tolerance. When you consume caffeine on a regular basis, your body becomes accustomed to its effects. Therefore, you'll need to consume more caffeine to feel the effects that you did when you first started trying caffeine. 

Think of it like this: when you first start drinking coffee, it might give you a jolt of energy because your body is not used to the caffeine. But if you keep drinking coffee every day, your body becomes more familiar with it and starts to adjust. To get the same level of energy, you might have to consistently drink more coffee or switch to a higher-caffeine drink.

2. You’re Too Exhausted

While caffeine can help keep you awake, it may not be effective if you're already extremely tired. If you're struggling with sleep deprivation or insomnia, chances are caffeine won’t be able to overcome these underlying issues. In fact, caffeine may even worsen certain side effects such as anxiety or jitters without actually helping you feel more awake.

Instead of relying on caffeine to solve your sleep problems, address the root cause of your poor sleep. Address any factors that might be contributing to your insomnia, such as stress, diet, or sleep environment. By addressing these issues, you can improve your sleep quality and feel more rested during the day, even without the help of caffeine.

3. You Drank Too Much Caffeine

You could also be drinking too much coffee. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to overstimulation and fatigue. Furthermore, if you’re drinking coffee too close to bedtime, this can interfere with your sleeping schedule and cause you to feel tired the next day. 

4. Dehydration

If you’re dehydrated, your body will naturally feel tired and drinking coffee won’t provide a long-term solution. While coffee can provide a boost of energy, it is a diuretic and may actually contribute to dehydration. 

5. You Put Too Much Sugar in Your Coffee

Too much sugar in your coffee could also be the culprit. Sugar can often be found in coffee, especially if you order from a chain like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. While ingredients like whipped cream and syrups may add flavor to your coffee, it can also lead to a sugar crash. 

Consuming these sugary condiments can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, followed by a subsequent drop that can make you feel tired and sluggish. Sugar also metabolizes faster than caffeine, so it may also overpower coffee's natural energizing effects.

6. You Switched Coffee Brands

Another reason you might be feeling tired is you’ve switched coffee brands. For example, light roast coffee typically contains more caffeine than dark roast so switching from light roast to dark roast could have an effect.

Additionally, the coffee bean’s quality can impact caffeine levels. Therefore, switching to a lower quality brand may also contribute to a decrease in alertness. If you are looking to increase your caffeine intake, try using a lighter roast or a higher-quality coffee brand. 

7. Caffeine Has the Opposite Effect

For some people, coffee and caffeine may have the opposite effect. Instead of making these coffee drinkers feel more energized, they’ll feel tired and sluggish. If you are new to coffee and have recently noticed a decrease in energy levels after drinking it, you may be one of these individuals. In this case, it is important to consider whether the cause of this reaction is caffeine itself or specifically caffeine from coffee. Experiment with different sources of caffeine or avoid caffeine altogether to help you determine the root cause of this effect.

8. Brewing Method 

If you’ve recently changed your brewing method, it could potentially affect the caffeine content of your cup. For example, switching from an espresso-based method to a drip-brew or French Press could slightly decrease how much caffeine is in your cup. While this is unlikely to be the only cause, this could be a potential factor if you notice a change in the strength of your coffee. Different brewing methods can also impact the overall flavor and quality of the coffee.

9. Medication

Caffeine’s effectiveness from coffee can be reduced by certain medications, depending on their specific properties and intended use. These medications may alter how your liver metabolizes caffeine and, as a result, you might not feel the energy boost you’re looking for. If you are concerned about the potential interactions between your medications and caffeine consumption, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional for advice on whether it is safe to continue drinking coffee while taking your medications.

10. You Have a Strong Metabolism

If you are a new coffee drinker and aren’t feeling the effects, it is possible that your body is metabolizing it at a rapid rate. A fast metabolism can reduce the impact of caffeine, which may require you to drink more coffee or drink it at a slower pace in order to feel the effects. It is worth noting that those with a fast metabolism may not fully experience the effects of caffeine, even as a new coffee drinker.

What to Do if Coffee Isn’t Waking You Up

Did you find out why coffee isn’t waking you up? If so, here’s what you can do so that your morning cup of coffee is giving you the energy you need. 

Drink More Water

As we mentioned above, if you are feeling tired, it could be that the caffeine from your coffee is contributing to dehydration. If this is the case, increasing your water intake can help to counteract the dehydrating effects of caffeine. 

You should also consider your level of physical activity and the potential effects of medications on hydration levels. If you are active or exercise regularly, you may need to drink a little more water to support your daily activity. Additionally, certain medications may cause dehydration and it may be necessary to check with a healthcare professional about whether caffeine is safe to consume while taking these medications.

Lower Your Caffeine Consumption

The easiest and simplest way to fix your coffee issues is to lower your overall caffeine intake. One option is to eliminate or cut back on other sources of caffeine–such as sodas or energy drinks–because they may contain high levels of caffeine as well as added sugars and chemicals. 

For example, the Pink Drink contains 54 grams of sugar and caffeinated beverages like Twisted Tea have caffeine in it. 

If coffee is your only source of caffeine, try gradually reducing the amount you consume on a daily basis. If you normally drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee per day, you may want to try lowering this amount to 2 to 3 cups to see if it has a stronger effect. It may take some trial and error to find the right balance of caffeine that works for you.

Try a Coffee Alternative

Another simple way to try to solve your issues with coffee is to go for a different caffeine alternative. Sometimes, coffee won’t be strong enough and as such, you’ll need a higher concentration of caffeine. This can be through tea, energy drinks, or even sodas like Diet Dr. Pepper.

Here are some of the best options if you’re looking for a new source of caffeine. 

Get More Sleep

Improving your sleep quality is often overlooked as a potential issue for ineffective caffeine intake. Poor sleep can cause you to rely on caffeine and sleep aids, which can be harmful in the long term. If you have noticed a decrease in your sleep quality recently, it may be helpful to try to identify the cause before increasing your caffeine intake. Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being, and addressing any underlying sleep issues can be an important step in improving overall health and functioning.

Make Coffee Work For You Again

There are plenty of reasons why coffee isn’t waking you up. These can include dehydration, high caffeine intake, medication, and caffeine metabolism. Additionally, coffee can also cause stomach pain, headaches, and jitters so it’s important to try remedies like fixing your sleep schedule or drinking more water throughout the day. Do you have any methods to make sure your morning cup of coffee wakes you up? If so, let us know in the comments below!











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