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Why Do I Feel Sleepy Immediately After Drinking Coffee? (8 Reasons Explained)

We all know coffee is a stimulant, right? So, why, oh why does coffee make me sleepy immediately? That’s exactly the opposite of what’s expected!

It turns out that the reason we could feel sleepy after drinking coffee boils down to caffeine’s hyper-stimulation effects, which exhaust our system. Basically, caffeine is causing some sort of disruptions in the central nervous system, leaving the brain in an awkward state as soon as it wears out. As a result, the brain goes into sleep mode as it tries to recuperate from the drastic stimulation activities.

Apart from brain agitation, coffee induces sleep in a number of ways, and we’ll get into the details shortly. So, if you wonder why your favorite beverage leads to drowsiness instead of attentiveness, read on to find out why.

Why Does Coffee Make Me Sleepy Immediately?

Here are some of the reasons why you feel sleepy immediately after drinking coffee:

Caffeine Is Diuretic

woman drinking coffee near the window

Once caffeine gets into your system, it tries to flush out all the perceived toxins in your system. This leads to frequent urination and sweating as the body gets rid of water and salt. As a result, your favorite cup of joe causes intense dehydration in your body.

Dehydration leads to secondary effects, including fatigue, dizziness, thirst, confusion, and general dryness. These incidental effects will leave you in a worse position than before you had your coffee. Eventually, the feeling of sleepiness kicks in unexpectedly.

Such diuretic effects undermine the effectiveness of the world’s most consumed stimulant.

Caffeine Blocks Adenosine Receptors

pouring coffee in cup

Primarily, caffeine should depress sleepiness by blocking adenosine receptors in your brain. Instead, this desired outcome is often replaced by the feeling of tiredness as the adenosine receptors immediately go back into action once the caffeine wears off in your brain.

These brain processes first lead to temporary stimulation in your entire system. Then, the feeling of sleepiness kicks in. This outcome is immediately registered in your brain, which tries to compensate for temporary inactivity by producing higher quantities of adenosine. When this happens, your brain switches to sleep mode.

Sweeteners Alter Blood Sugar

You may be feeling sleepy after taking coffee because of the sugar and other additives in it. Sweeteners like sugar, syrup, and honey have been known to cause sugar crashes in your system.

woman pouring sugar into a cup of coffee

When your body senses an increased sugar level, it reacts by producing additional insulin. This leads to a drop in blood glucose levels, which, in turn, initiates a sugar crash. The sugar crash affects your entire system, leading to a sudden feeling of tiredness.

If you feel sleepy after a cup of morning joe, you might want to take a good look at the sugar and sweeteners you’re using. Cut back on these additives, and you may see an improvement.

Otherwise, it could be another ingredient causing the drowsiness.

Dairy Ingredients in Your Coffee Are Affecting You

Nutritionists have argued that dairy products contain tryptophan, a type of amino acid that is known to induce sleep. So, if you experience an unexplained form of lethargy after coffee, evaluating your body’s dairy tolerance is a great way to address the problem.

However, dairy products contain significantly lower tryptophan qualities. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that your drowsiness is linked to the dairy ingredients in your cup.

Nonetheless, you might want to avoid these tryptophan amino acids altogether, as they may be the reason why you have unpleasant mornings.

It’s a good thing you can use plant-based alternatives to enrich your coffee. Thus, it is not always necessary to resort to dairy products.

Caffeine Contains Mycotoxins Associated With Chronic Fatigue

Caffeine contains mold contaminants with mycotoxins, which are known to induce sleep in humans. Therefore, your drowsiness after a cup of coffee could be due to an elevated level of mycotoxins found in unroasted coffee beans or grounds.

While the low level of these mycotoxins does not cause safety concerns, they are known to cause chronic fatigue. These toxins will leave you tired even after resting.

Mycotoxins also lead to secondary fatigue issues, including dizziness, slackened thinking, and low concentration, among other concerns.

So, you should go for trusted coffee brands, which are subjected to high-standard warehousing and processing procedures. Substandard coffee brands tend to contain high levels of toxins, which are potentially harmful to your system’s normal functioning.

You Have Reached Caffeine Tolerance Level

Your regular coffee consumption disrupts adenosine’s normal functioning. This leads to increased production of adenosine receptors due to the need to create more ammunition in the body.

As a result, your body intensifies resistance against caffeine substances. This situation is linked to increased sleep as the presence of caffeine can no longer cause the desired level of stimulation in the central nervous system.

So, you might want to adopt healthy coffee drinking habits to reverse your body’s likely tolerance for caffeinated substances. A reversal means that the adenosine receptors are reduced to revert to the system’s normal functioning. Consequently, your body begins to react suitably to the ingested caffeine substances.

Rapid Caffeine Metabolism Leads to Energy Wear Off

Caffeine is known to induce quick metabolism in certain individuals. These people are likely to experience lethargy after taking coffee since rapid metabolic processes cause systemic disruptions.

Also, the faster the metabolism, the higher the rate of substance depletion in the system. These situations lead to sleepiness as the body tries to recover from instant metabolic processes and faster depletion of stimulants in the system.

Pregnant mothers and liver patients are less likely to experience these effects as their metabolisms are generally low. For these groups, caffeine substances are steadily utilized in the system for prolonged stimulation.

Therefore, you should evaluate your system’s reaction to caffeine to know what drains energy in your body after a cup of coffee.

Increased Adrenaline Production Leads to Stress

Caffeine intensifies the production of adrenaline and cortisol hormones in your system. Primarily, these hormones lead to increased alertness, which could cause momentary fatigue effects.

Also, an irregular production of stress hormones disrupts the system’s normal functioning. As a result, you may experience drowsiness as your body tries to recuperate from the abnormal reaction processes.

When the body is under abnormal processes, it reacts by producing either too high or too low hormone levels. This could lead to either hyperactivity or tiredness, depending on which type of hormone is induced or suppressed.

How to Minimize Coffee-Related Sleepiness

It will help to understand how your body reacts to caffeine, so you’d know how to suppress coffee-related sleepiness and exhaustion.

Let’s look at things you can do to counter coffee-related sleep effects.

Exercise Consistently to Boost Metabolism

If you feel sleepy after a cup of morning joe, chances are your body is struggling to keep up with the appropriate rate of metabolism.

Exercise speeds up metabolism processes. Thus, the intention to suppress coffee-related energy crashes in your system should start with increased bodily activity.

So, if you are struggling to stay alert after a cup of coffee, you should exercise more often to boost your body’s ability to process caffeine.

Drink Plenty of Water to Rehydrate Your System

To reverse caffeine’s diuretic effects, you should drink as much water as possible to replace the lost fluids in your system. Aim for at least 16 ounces of water every four hours.

By maintaining proper hydration in your system, you address the root cause of various causes of tiredness. Hence, you avoid secondary effects of dehydration, which include fatigue, dizziness, and general dryness.

Cut Back on Sugar and Other Sweeteners

By minimizing sugar and other sweeteners in your coffee, you eliminate the issues of blood glucose spikes in your system. As a result, your body maintains a normal rate of metabolism and insulin production, which, in turn, causes a steady energy output.

Furthermore, sugar is associated with various energy-draining symptoms. Therefore, cutting back on sugar additives in your coffee cures incidental signs of drowsiness: an extreme feeling of hunger, irritability, anxiety, sweatiness, and dizziness, among other undesired effects.

Moderate Your Coffee Consumption

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits adults’ coffee consumption to 16 ounces per day.

So, if you experience coffee-related sleepiness, you should first look into your coffee drinking habits. Eliminate unnecessary intake if you normally exceed these recommended quantities.

Moderate consumption ensures that you do not induce unnecessary reactivity that might drain energy in your system. 

You should also keep a sensible coffee drinking schedule to avoid sleep disruptions, which could lead to coffee-related disorders in the long term.

Final Thoughts

So, why does coffee make you sleepy immediately? Caffeine is associated with various sleep-related effects, which can cause either intense alertness or a sudden feeling of drowsiness. Primarily, this stimulant works by blocking adenosine receptors to realize prolonged attentiveness and brain hyperactivity.

Even so, caffeine is known to cause irregular hormone production in the system, leading to an unexpected feeling of sleepiness. If you experience this, you should assess your body’s response to caffeine to know how you can resolve coffee-related exhaustion.

Avatar for Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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