Are you a coffee aficionado, like me, who needs a cup of coffee in the morning to start your day with energy and positivity? Coffee is loved everywhere due to its strong taste and aroma, while it also has a positive impact on our body. However, some people may say that they experience drowsiness and fatigue when drinking coffee. Is this possible? Actually, there are certain circumstances where coffee produces these effects, mostly when you consume too much. Let me show you when coffee makes you tired
Coffee Can Overwork our Heart
We all know that coffee contains a unique compound called caffeine, which belongs to a group of substances called methylxanthines. These substances have been proven to have health benefits in our body, such as promoting weight loss, enhancing cognitive performance, and reducing asthma attacks. However, caffeine can also produce diuretic effects in a moderate dosage and lead to dehydration.
Usually, the kidneys control urine production by shrinking the blood vessels, thus reducing the blood flow that enters into our urinary system. Nonetheless, caffeine can block this process and widen these blood vessels, allowing more fluid to overflow and causing more urine output. Additionally, it can also prevent our liver and kidneys from reabsorbing sodium (salt) back into our bloodstream. Remember that salt attracts water, and if our body purges more sodium, it will drag more water through the urine.
Increased urine output reduces blood flow and our cardiovascular system, specifically our heart, must compensate these changes by pumping blood with more force and at a faster rate. This leads to elevated heart rate and blood pressure, producing symptoms of fatigue and tiredness due to the dehydration and extra effort our heart makes.
Excess Sugar in your Coffee
I don't know about you, but I am not keen on drinking black and sugarless coffee? Its tang and bitterness is too much to handle, so I like to add a couple of sugar cubes to sweeten it. However, incorporating excess sugar in your coffee can produce sugar crashes and leave you in a worn-out state. Even more, studies have shown that coffee can affect blood sugar levels in diabetic people.
When you consume sugar in your coffee, it is broken down into simple carbs called glucose and they enter into our bloodstream. The blood sugar levels increase and our body detects it, sending signals to our pancreas to release insulin. Insulin stimulates our cells and tissues, primarily muscle, to transport the glucose from the blood to the cell’s interior to utilize it as energy. Thus, our body is able to control these rises. However, you do not only eat coffee; you also consume pastries, a bowl of cereal, or sweetened beverages with it. All these excess sugar causes a huge spike in blood sugar levels and our body overreacts by producing increased amounts of insulin. Suddenly, our blood sugar levels drop drastically, producing drowsiness, fatigue, and mood swings. This is also known as a sugar crash.
Additionally, studies have shown that caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity in diabetic people, preventing adequate control of blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar levels remain high, it can also produce tiredness and fatigue, as well as severe metabolic conditions, like high blood pressure, fluid imbalance, and heart risk. For this reason, you must be cautious about the amount of sugar you incorporate in your coffee as well as your daily consumption, while diabetics must reduce their coffee intake to have better control of their sugar levels.
Caffeine vs Adenosine
Did you know that caffeine produces all of its effects by interfering with the actions of a chemical compound named adenosine? Adenosine is a neurotransmitter present in all the cells of the body which regulates activity and states of alertness. When adenosine attaches to brain cells (also known as neurons), it inhibits their activities and slows down their metabolism. In other words, it induces drowsiness by placing our neurons into a relaxed state. However, do not consider this to be a negative effect because it actually helps us with a well-rested sleep and keeps our metabolism in check at night.
Thus, caffeine keeps us alert and active by blocking its activity. Even more, adrenalin production is increased when adenosine levels are low, providing us an extra burst of energy. Nonetheless, adenosine doesn't surrender easily. When both compounds are present, they compete on sites called receptors where they attach themselves to carry out their role. Even more, adenosine has the capability of creating more receptors, therefore augmenting its activities. Thus, when you drink coffee, caffeine blocks its function, but it fights back by creating more sites to attach itself and if the amount of adenosine is higher, it will induce tiredness and fatigue.
Addiction and Withdrawal
Have you ever noticed that you feel anxious, uncomfortable, or even have a sudden headache and it doesn't go away until you had a cup of coffee? If that's the case, let me inform you that you may have an addiction to coffee. When we drink coffee, it stimulates our senses and causes our brain to release a chemical called dopamine and serotonin. These substances are known as "feel-good" hormones and increase the feeling of happiness and pleasure. Our body learns about this interaction and adapts it. Consequently, when you drink a cup of coffee, our body knows and produces these compounds, leading to a physical dependency. After a while, our body will keep asking for more coffee to produce the same effects, soon transforming into an addiction.
This action leads to two pathways. First, if you stop drinking coffee, your body will enter into a withdrawal, just like any other recreational drug, and cause headaches, anxiety, tiredness, and panic attacks. Secondly, if you do not drink the amount of coffee necessary to produce dopamine and serotonin, it will not have the same effect, producing also fatigue, mood swings, and trembling.
This is why you must keep in check your coffee consumption and add other liquids to your diet, such as tea and water.
Coffee has a lot of benefits to our overall health, but excess consumption can lead to a negative impact on our bodies.