Why Does Coffee Make Me Sleepy?
If you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning you might want to look your caffeine habits before blaming being overworked or needing a vacation.
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Why Does Coffee Make Me Sleepy & Tired: 2 Reasons
One of the great ironies of coffee is it can make you feel tired and sleepy instead of energized. While you reach for a cup of coffee, or energy drink, to give you a boost, it can actually make you feel sleepy instead! The internet has recently coined a term for this: the power nap.
It’s the ability to sleep for just a few minutes then wake up feeling a little more refreshed. But how can caffeine actually trigger sleep? The power nap actually has 3 components.
Dopamine: The #1 Reason Coffee Makes You Tired
Dopamine, also known as the “feel good hormone”, is the primary reason you start to feel tired. Caffeine has long been known to stimulate dopamine production which will make you feel relaxed and happy. That’s a signal to your body that are ready to relax a little.
Now when you are already tired, taking that first sip of coffee (which is actually dissolved in the mouth before you swallow) will start to trigger the feel-good dopamine. It’s that’s “ahh” feeling you get with your first sip of coffee. It’s not a big boost of energy you’ll get after the caffeine you swallow is finally digested, but it is the start of feeling good and often trigger a relaxation and relief kind of feeling.
Take a look at: Benefits Of Quitting Caffeine
Adensoine: The #2 Reason Coffee Can Make You Tired
While feeling good, but before the caffeine in your stomach start to work, your brain still has the receptor chemical of adenosine running around in your brain. This is a chemical that triggers sleep.
Funny thing coffee. It contains caffeine. And caffeine is molecularly similar to adenosine, that chemical that promotes sleep. They are so similar they can park in the same receptors in the brain. But when one is parked in that receptor, the other can’t. So it becomes a competition to who gets to park and deliver their message: sleep or stimulation.
This is why you might sometimes feel sleepy when you drink coffee. In this situation you are actually perfectly aligned to take what is known as the power nap.
A power nap is drinking coffee before taking a short sleep period, usually 15 to 20 minutes. But wait. Isn’t coffee supposed to wake you up?
When you are tired, adenosine circulates through your body in high amounts. But after you fall asleep, those adenosine levels begin to drop.
Why Coffee Doesn't Give You Energy Anymore
What’s happening now is that drop in adenosine is means the caffeine will have a place to park as soon as you wake up and therefore increases energy levels because caffeine has more places to park and deliver its message of wakeful energy.
The decrease in adenosine while caffeine increases (because it is being digested while you sleep) means you won’t sleep long and will awake to a big supply of caffeine waiting to fill those Adenosine parking places in your brain!
Take a look at: Boost Your Performance Without Energy Drinks
What Does It Mean If Caffeine Makes You Tired?
The bottom line is that caffeine does not give you energy. It is just borrowing energy by producing adrenaline (the same thing that our cave-man ancestors used to avoid getting eaten by a tiger). Except after they survived, they would go back to a cave to rest and recover but we just reach for another cup of coffee and expect to keep going.
Your body is trying to operate on a natural system of work, rest and recovery and you are trying to stimulate it with more coffee. You are tired because your body is signaling a natural need for rest and it but you trying to stimulate it with more caffeine.
It’s a battle you can’t win. So just put down the coffee cup and try to cut back on caffiene so you can live a better and more sustainable life.
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