FoodWhy coffee makes you sleepy even though it's stimulating

Why coffee makes you sleepy even though it's stimulating

Feeling sleepy after coffee? Discover the reason behind your condition.
Feeling sleepy after coffee? Discover the reason behind your condition.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | zhu difeng

1:42 PM EDT, May 18, 2024

Did you drink coffee and feel sleepy instead of energized? This is a common issue that shouldn't happen because coffee has stimulating properties. So, why does coffee make you tired?

Many of us start the day with a cup of coffee. This dark brew stimulates and adds energy, thanks to caffeine, which increases concentration. A cup helps us focus on work or study. However, coffee sometimes has the opposite effect, making us sleepy instead of energized. Can coffee make you tired even though it's supposed to be stimulating? Why does coffee make you want to sleep?

Sleepiness after coffee: This is why you feel sleepy

You drink dark coffee and wait for it to stimulate you. However, you may only feel more tired and sleepy after a few minutes. Why does this happen? Caffeine is supposed to encourage you, so where does the sleepiness after coffee come from?

Let's start with the basics. Coffee is a drink made from brewed and ground coffee beans. This dark drink contains many vitamins, such as B vitamins, which support the proper functioning of the nervous system. It's a legal stimulant that improves mood and helps with concentration.

This is all thanks to caffeine, which is classified as a psychoactive substance. It stimulates the nervous system and binds with adenosine, a chemical that helps control the sleep-wake cycle, temporarily blocking its receptors that cause sleepiness. However, this doesn't mean it completely stops adenosine production. As a result, the stimulation after drinking coffee may only last for a short moment, and fatigue may quickly return, sometimes with increased intensity.

Feeling sleepy after coffee? Here's the reason

When the level of caffeine in the body begins to decrease, adenosine takes place, causing the brain to work at a slower pace. This is why you may feel sleepy and tired. Caffeine also increases the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. The effect can be similar to that of adenosine. Interestingly, the greater the body mass, the higher the possible concentration of cortisol in the blood. Therefore, people with extra weight are more prone to sleepiness after coffee.

Another reason could be how you tolerate sugar (it is absorbed faster than caffeine). Coffee with milk and sugar causes a significant insulin spike. People with sugar metabolism disorders will feel stimulated only while drinking coffee, but soon after, they will feel exhausted, sleepy, and completely drained. Headaches are also a normal reaction of the body in this case.

If you feel sleepy after coffee but can't give up aromatic black coffee, you might need to change your habits. Do not exceed the recommended daily consumption of 2 cups. Also, avoid additives like sugar, milk, or flavored syrups, and your coffee might start working as it should. If you still don't feel well after drinking it, try green tea or the recently popular matcha, which have stimulating and energizing effects.

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