When it is late at night and you have a big project due in the morning, most people hope to already be done. In this case, you can simply relax, knowing that your work is complete. If, however, you are a procrastinator, you may be ready to turn to coffee to fuel an all-nighter. This method doesn’t work for everyone, however, and some people may find themselves wondering, why does coffee make me tired?
3 Reasons Why Coffee Makes You Tired
Coffee is traditionally a method of boosting energy, but for many people, it can make them tired. Caffeine affects people differently, and while there are multiple explanations, three possible answers to the question “why does coffee make me tired?” hold the key in the majority of situations.
1. Effects on Adrenal Glands
When you consume caffeine, this stimulates your adrenal glands so they release adrenalin, the hormone your body uses in “fight or flight” situation. This in turn increases the breathing and heart rate, increases blood flowing to your muscles, and dilates your pupils. This adrenalin release is designed to happen only in some cases when you have severe physical stress.
If, however, you consume excessive quantities of caffeine, you encourage an adrenal response which is sustained and exhausts the glands. This means that the glands can no longer produce the small quantities of adrenalin you need to maintain concentration and focus, leading to malaise and physical fatigue.
2. Effects on Insulin
If you are wondering “why does coffee make me tired?” another reason is the way the caffeine affects your insulin, dampening its sensitivity. Insulin detects sugar within the bloodstream and makes sure the body uptakes it to produce energy. When your insulin doesn’t work correctly, you have less sugar accessible as energy, leading to a feeling of tiredness.
3. Effects on Sleep
When you drink caffeine at night, you may experience less slow-wave sleep. This sleep is essential to be rejuvenated and properly rested so if you lack it on a regular basis, you will begin to feel fatigued.
How Much Coffee Can You Drink?
When consumed in small quantities, drinking coffee can improve focus, concentration, and wakefulness, but drinking too much may lead to negative effects such as fatigue.
Experts agree that the majority of healthy adults can safely drink about 400 milligrams of caffeine each day. This translates to four cups worth of coffee, two energy drinks, or 10 cans of soda. Despite caffeine being safe for adults, children shouldn’t have it. Even adolescents shouldn’t consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine daily.
When you consume too much caffeine as an adult, you can notice unpleasant side effects. Caffeine may also be a poor decision for certain people, such as those on certain medications or who have a high sensitivity to its effects.
If you drink more than four cups of coffee a day, you may find yourself consuming over 500 or 600 milligrams in a day. This can lead to muscle tremors, a fast heartbeat, upset stomach, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, and/or insomnia.
Other Negative Effects Coffee May Have
1. Coffee and Hydrochloric Acid
If you drink coffee early in the morning when your stomach is empty, this will stimulate your body to produce hydrochloric acids. This may be problematic as your body was designed to produce this acid as a way to digest meals. Over time, as your body must make more HCl due to drinking coffee, it may find it harder to produce sufficient for a big meal.
When there isn’t enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach, protein digestion will be negatively affected, leading to issues such as gas, IBS, bloating, or even colon cancer or diverticulitis.
2. Ulcers, IBS and Acidity
Coffee beans contain caffeine as well as numerous acids and these can irritate the small intestine lining as well as the stomach. Experts agree that those with Crohn’s disease, IBS, gastritis, or ulcers should avoid coffee as it can worsen the symptom. Some people believe that drinking too much coffee may lead to your stomach lining weakening, allowing Helicobacter pylori bacteria to take hold and cause ulcers. It may also irritate your small intestine lining, causing elimination issues, cramps, and abdominal spasms, frequently known as IBS.
3. Heartburn Problems
After you eat, your lower esophageal sphincter should stay tightly closed as this stops your stomach contents from traveling back up the esophagus, burning its lining through hydrochloric acid. Since caffeine relaxes the esophageal sphincter, drinking coffee may lead to heartburn. Some people even notice heartburn from drinking decaf coffee.
4. Mineral Absorption, Your Kidneys and Coffee
It can be challenging for those who regularly drink coffee to get enough minerals, even those who take supplements or eat foods rich in minerals. This is because coffee negatively affects the ability of the stomach to absorb iron as well as your kidneys’ ability to retain minerals like magnesium, zinc, and calcium. Magnesium deficiency, in particular, can be troubling as it may lead to issues with bowel regularity.
5. Coffee, Stress and Tension
Consuming high quantities of coffee can also lead to the body releasing norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol, the stress hormones. These chemicals will boost your tension levels, blood pressure, and heart rate, known as the “fight or flight” response. When these stress hormones are unnecessarily activated, you will notice issues with your digestive process as the body diverts resources to prepare for potential threats.
Caffeine has also been linked to interference with the GABA metabolism. The neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid helps regulate stress levels and mood and should calm your gastrointestinal tract. This means that issues with it will affect these systems.