Caffeine is a natural stimulant well-known for its energizing effects. It is present in many foods, yet, your beloved coffee is usually the primary source of caffeine. Millions of people around the world kick start their day with a steaming cup of coffee.
Now imagine, what would you do if you are on your fourth cup of the day and you don’t feel a thing. Your all-time favorite brew doesn’t give you the jolt of energy you need? Many of us have been there and we know what a bummer it is.
Caffeine can affect us all differently. For some people, a single cup of coffee can do the trick while others might wonder why doesn’t caffeine affect them.
In this article, you will know the possible reasons why caffeine doesn’t work the way it should. Furthermore, we will discuss some healthy alternatives to keep you energized.
5 Reasons Why Caffeine Doesn’t Affect You
Nowadays, the caffeine culture is blooming. We all drink coffee or other forms of caffeinated beverages for one reason or the other. This natural stimulant helps us to improve focus, alertness and energy levels. While many of us can’t imagine our day without caffeine, some people don’t get the hype.
So, if you are someone who’s asking why doesn't caffeine give me energy? Then you’re in the right place. Let’s understand the evidence-based reasons behind it.
1. You’re not sleeping enough
Caffeine is not a cure-all solution. If you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces adenosine. It is a chemical that makes you sleepy and tired. On the contrary, caffeine makes you alert and awake. It acts on other hormones that affect sleep such as dopamine, melatonin and serotonin. At this stage, if you constantly increase your caffeine intake to feel more energetic then you’re doing it all wrong. The extra caffeine will further interfere with your sleep. It increases your sleep debt and makes you feel more exhausted. As a result, a vicious cycle begins that you can only break by having peaceful and adequate sleep.
2. Your genetics are responsible
That’s right, you might not be doing anything wrong. It’s your genes that are responding differently to caffeine. Generally, caffeine takes about 15-45 minutes to reach its peak effects after consumption. After absorption, caffeine molecules reach your brain. Here they bind with the receptors that pair with adenosine, a sleep stimulant. Caffeine replaces adenosine on the receptors, thus, sleep is inhibited and alertness and energy levels are increased.
However, in some people due to genetic variation caffeine is unable to bind with adenosine receptors and express the desired effects. Besides, certain enzymes present in the liver (CYP1A2) may alter caffeine metabolism. In short, your genetics can determine how fast and how long you can feel the caffeine’s energizing effects. Now you know why coffee doesn't work for you.
3. You have developed caffeine tolerance
Though people consume caffeine to get that energy burst, some use it to stay alert at their jobs and some for losing weight too. Whatever the reason, you might be consuming more caffeine than you realize. Besides coffee, other products such as chocolate, guarana, tea, soda, energy drinks etc. also contain high amounts of caffeine. Certain medications and dietary supplements also contain a synthetic form of caffeine.
So, in case you’re wondering - “why doesn’t caffeine give me energy, despite having more than usual intake?” Then the answer is - your body becomes resistant to the amount of caffeine you are taking.
And, once your body can bear a specific amount of caffeine you start needing more and more to get the same buzz.
For that reason, I would suggest you should know the maximum amount of caffeine you can consume in a day. It will help you to prevent over-indulgence and develop resistance. And, the best part is you can do that in a few seconds with our daily caffeine intake calculator.
4. Your medications are to blame
Some of your medications can interact with caffeine and prevent you from feeling a surge of energy. Certain drugs can also change how quickly or slowly you feel the effects of caffeine. Furthermore, these can also increase the chances of unwanted side effects. The common symptoms include jitters, headaches, abnormal heart rate, dehydration and sleeping issues. Drugs that can interfere with caffeine may include:
- Fitness or weight loss supplements
- Certain antibiotics, anticoagulants and antacids
- Medications to treat depression and anxiety
- Medications to treat diabetes, thyroid, BP, skin disorders, and hormonal imbalance
Besides medications, alcohol, and smoking (or nicotine) can also affect caffeine action. So, consult your doctor and understand how caffeine can interact with your medications.
5. Your caffeine intake may be insufficient
Now that we know, having too much caffeine is not good and can lead to sleep disturbances and caffeine tolerance. But, having too less is also not going to get you that much-needed energy boost. Thus, it’s essential to know the optimal amount of caffeine you should take daily depending on your age, gender, weight and genetics.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can consume up to 400 mg i.e. 4 to 5 cups of coffee in a day. However, if you’re taking other caffeinated products then you better watch out your intake.
Is it bad if Caffeine doesn't affect you?
We indeed depend on caffeine more than ever to stay active and focused. From your morning routine to your fitness regimen to that kick you need to prevent the mid-afternoon crash, everything is just incomplete without the boost of caffeine. Nevertheless, if you’re taking caffeine in any form and not getting its desired effects then you’re not alone. Still, there are many alternatives you can try without relying on caffeine entirely.
What to Do If Caffeine Isn’t Affecting Me?
Regulate your sleep
As discussed above, the more your sleep debt is the harder it is for caffeine to work. Fatigue and low energy due to lack of sleep need you to relax and unwind, not extra caffeine. Be consistent with your sleep schedule and try to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Here are some quick tips to reset your sleep cycle:
- Go to bed a little early for a few nights to make up for the hours you missed.
- Wake up a little late, just one extra hour is enough; avoid messing with the usual sleep-wake cycle.
- A short power nap can make you more alert; however, avoid napping in the evening or close to bedtime.
- Maintain a fixed sleeping schedule. Practice daily rituals to get better and quality sleep.
- Your sleep environment matters. Prefer a dark, noise-free and cool room. Also, get a clean and comfortable mattress, sheets and pillow
Reestablish your caffeine tolerance
As mentioned earlier, a high amount of caffeine can make you immune to its effects. On the contrary, if you are taking too little, you’ll also miss the rush. Hence, the first step is to know the right intake. In addition to that, these tips can help you reset your caffeine tolerance:
- Drastic caffeine reduction can cause withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, headache, low feeling, and concentration issues.
- Cut down your caffeine intake slowly and gradually to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
- Replace your extra coffee intake with some healthy beverages such as green tea, herbal tea, chicory drink, acorn coffee, or turmeric milk.
And, one such amazingly delicious, all-natural, low-calorie coffee replacement is protein coffee. It contains only 90 calories without any junk, is far more nutritious and is superior to all your favorite coffee brands.
One serving of this awesome drink contains 13 grams of high-quality protein, 8 grams of carbs and just 4 grams of sugar (from natural sources like monk fruit and cane sugar). It also contains ashwagandha, a powerful herb that is clinically proven to reduce stress. It also enhances focus and mental stamina with other potential health benefits.
Consider other alternatives
Sometimes caffeine doesn’t affect you the way you want whether it's your genes or a natural dip in the energy. If you want to feel active, alert and refreshed without the support of caffeine then you must try these lifestyle-altering tips:
- Stay active - Regular physical activity can keep you healthy and energetic. It also increases levels of dopamine for a better mood.
- Eat healthy - Food provides you with enough fuel to get rolling. Protein keeps you energetic for a long while carbs can give an instant boost.
- Stay hydrated - Aim for 10-12 glasses of water a day. As dehydration can make you feel more tired and sluggish.
- Take a nap - There is tremendous power in a short nap. Taking one for even for 10-15 minutes can make you alert and charged up.
- Get some sunshine - Daylight can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and increase serotonin to uplift your energy and mood.
- Take a shower - A bath, especially with cold water can spike your heart rate, metabolism and energy levels.
- Try natural supplements - Herbs like Ginseng, Ginkgo, Ashwagandha and aromatic oils can reduce fatigue and improve energy levels.
- Sing and laugh more - Yes, that’s true. Sing out loud to increase energy and reduce fatigue. A good laugh does the same.
Caffeine is not a magic concoction that can keep you perky forever. It's just a helping hand that can get you through the day. For most people, a cup of Java is the best way to get that caffeine rush. However, getting the most out of it could be tricky.
Given that, we all may have different requirements and different effects of caffeine. At times, people drink too little or too much, for this reason, they don’t get the buzz they need.
From all the reasons we’ve discussed above, some can be fixed but some can’t. Therefore, work upon those which you can control.
In a nutshell, it is advised to get good sleep, understand your medications and figure out your caffeine limits. Knowing the maximum amount of caffeine you can consume daily can prevent its resistance.
So, stop worrying about why doesn't caffeine affect me and rely on it completely. Just stay active and live a healthy lifestyle for a happy and zestful life.