Skip to main content
Coffee & Health

Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up?

You have been consuming coffee hoping it will keep you alert and awake. You know coffee is effective in boosting your energy. But your cup does not seem to get the job done. You can’t seem to get the answer why doesn’t coffee wake you up?

why doesn't coffee wake you up?

You end up feeling drowsy even after several cups of coffee.

What could be wrong? What could you be doing wrong? What is missing?

Chances are your body can’t handle it. It could be that the coffee-making technique. Your consumption behavior can also ruin caffeine.

Coffee is a beverage with a myriad of techniques. Globally coffee preparation, extraction, and consumption are unique. Understanding and appreciating how your body works should answer the question of why coffee doesn’t wake you up.

So let’s understand what makes coffee leave you awake.


Caffeine Tolerance and What To Do

Caffeine is a stimulant found in most of our foods like tea, coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks. An infrequent consumer of caffeine should have zero tolerance. The more your body gets exposed to caffeine the higher your caffeine tolerance.


What leads to Caffeine tolerance

You sitting on your desk all day churning out work and trying to meet deadlines. Your brain is busy too. It produces adenosine as a result of being active. The more the brain uses energy, the more it produces adenosine.

Adenosine is a neuromodulator that sends messages to the neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters exchange messages between neurons. The adenosine receptors are a type of neurotransmitters.  When they receive messages from the adenosines, they activate sleep.

You decide to take coffee to keep you alert and continue working. Caffeine in coffee has a similar structure to adenosine. It intercepts the messages from the adenosines and you end up being vigilant. This usually lasts for 4-5 hours before caffeine gets depleted in your body.

The body reacts to this and generates more adenosine receptors. This occurs over time when we drink coffee often. This begs the answer to the question, why doesn’t coffee wake me up? You increase your caffeine levels to keep up with the extra adenosines receptors.



Excessive caffeine consumption results in withdrawal, fatigue, drowsiness, lack of focus, agitation. As a result, you end up taking more coffee to reduce this feeling.


How to reset caffeine tolerance.


Whining yourself off – You can reduce the caffeine intake since it’s not prudent to stop at once. Depending on your caffeine tolerance, stopping immediately may lead to withdrawal symptoms. This includes fatigue, headaches, shaking, and restlessness.


Replace your caffeine- Find alternative beverages that have lower levels of caffeine. Change to tea or energy drinks to help you reset your coffee intake. Settle for drinks with weak caffeine levels.


Caffeine detox – For those who are caffeine addicts, you should clean caffeine off your system. This allows the body to cut caffeine levels and avoid habitual consumption.

As a caffeine consumer, you should have periodic breaks of consumption. You can take 3-day coffee breaks after 3-4 months. This lowers your caffeine tolerance and you will feel more energized when you take your next cup.


Caffeine Metabolism

Digestion of caffeine happens like any other food. But, its absorption happens in the mouth and small intestines. It takes about 45 minutes for the absorption of caffeine into our body. Around 99% of what you consume gets absorbed in the body.

70 % of caffeine gets metabolized in the liver. But, not all caffeine is metabolized and this is due to various reasons. Below we highlight some of the reasons why coffee metabolism fails.

  • Liver disease – Metabolism gets affected depending on the intensity of some diseases. Some of these diseases include Cirrhosis, Hepatitis B, or C. They inhibit the performance of the liver to carry out metabolism.
  • Smoking – Smoking leads to the induction of enzymes that lead to increased metabolism. This is due to the process of hastening caffeine clearance. You end up drinking more coffee to enjoy its benefits for longer.
  • Diet – Certain dietary behaviors and foods affect caffeine metabolism. Grapefruit, broccoli, and other fruit and vegetables affect caffeine clearance.
  • Consumption of alcohol – This increases your yearning for more coffee. It impacts the enzyme used in caffeine metabolism.
  • Medication – Some medications affect the metabolism of caffeine. Get professional advice on your medication and how they impact your metabolism.
  • Pregnancy– As you approach the delivery date, the caffeine metabolism reduces. It is ideal for pregnant women to avoid high caffeine levels.
  • Gene– Here there are 3 levels in which genetics affect how coffee makes you wake up.
  • There are people who have the ADORA2A genotype. This reduces the adenosine receptors as the levels of caffeine consumption increase.
  • The enzyme responsible for caffeine metabolism divides users into slow and fast metabolizers. Research shows that Caucasians, men, and guys aged below 59 tend to have faster metabolizers. Asians, older people above 59, and females have lower metabolizers.
  • Individuals with variations of the ADORA2A genotype inhibit different caffeine consumption.

Caffeine consumption and metabolism is a unique process. Research is still ongoing on caffeine and metabolism. If you are wondering why coffee doesn’t keep you awake, you’ll need to understand your body and how it reacts to coffee.


Caffeine and  Dehydration

Your endless trips to the bathrooms to urinate is because of drinking coffee.  Caffeine is a diuretic. But, fluid loss in our body can never be blamed on coffee consumption. Here are factors that show how consumption of coffee leads to dehydration.


High levels of coffee

Researchers observed that increased consumption of coffee led to a need to urinate. This was compared with similar consumption of water.

Consumption of caffeine leads to more urine production. This is especially to individuals who have been deprived of caffeine for a long time. Regular coffee consumers often experience lower diuretic intensity than occasional consumers.


Water substitution

Coffee tolerant individuals tend to consume more coffee than water. But, all that is not bad since black coffee contains 95% of water.

Researchers agree that the consumption of caffeine and non-caffeine drinks is healthy. The body requires fluids including caffeine to hydrate.

Normal consumption of caffeinated coffee helps keep the body hydrated.  You should always stick to drinking water.  Combining this with periodic coffee breaks will help maintain your body fluid levels.

Loss of water results in lower blood pressure. Other effects may include drowsiness and fatigue. Even with caffeine consumption, you will still feel coffee sleepy and exhausted.


Excessive sugar

Coffee and excessive sugar when they come together may lead you to feel sleepy and fatigue.

Caffeine gets absorbed in your nervous system fast. You experience its effects within five minutes. That is the feeling you are craving. But, fatigue starts to creep in and you start to feel tired.

Our bodies convert the food we eat into glucose which we use as energy. Excessive sugar in your coffee might lead to increased blood sugar levels. Your body releases insulting which converts the sugar into your cells. This gives you more energy interferes with your sleep.

Dietitians do not recommend sugars, especially before going to bed. The recommended sugar level is 6 and 9 teaspoons per day for men and women respectively.

To avoid that feeling of fatigue, try to avoid or stick to the recommended sugar levels. It also unhealthy and will expose your body to diseases.


Excess fatigue

As we have established caffeine inhibits adenosine to interact with the receptors. This leads to sleep deprivation. But, caffeine will not be effective if the adenosine produced is massive.

When your brain becomes exhausted, consuming more caffeine will not be a solution. This could solve the mystery of why coffee doesn’t make you sleep.


What can you do?

When the adenosine produced is in excess, you can try to lower their levels. This can be achieved by taking a 20-30 minute nap. When you combine this with a cup of coffee, you will feel much more refreshed.

That nap should allow the body to reboot. This adds you to some extra hours to experience the effects of the caffeine.

Sleep deprivation is a harmful way of life. It may lead to more chronic ailments. Caffeine is never a replacement for sleep.


Variation of Coffee beans

Another cause when coffee doesn’t wake you up is when you switch your coffee beans. There are two common species of coffee plants. This is Robusta and Arabica.

  • Robusta species are cheaper and contain a higher caffeine volume. Robusta contains 2.7% caffeine compared to arabica.

They make a higher percentage of most found coffee in grocery stores. This includes pre-ground coffee beans or instant coffee.

  • Arabica coffee on other hand is a favorite for most coffee lovers. It is found in most coffee shops. This is because of its strong flavor, unlike the robusta.

This species is considered to be of higher quality and more expensive. This is because it requires a lot of care and costs during production.

These factors impact you and how you consume coffee. Changing your preference for coffee beans will affect your caffeine metabolism. Changing from Robusta to Arabica will have lower caffeine effects.


Brewing methods and Caffeine

Different brewing methods have an impact on the content of caffeine consumed. This could answer you on why coffee doesn’t wake you up.

Before we check into the brewing techniques. There are certain brewing factors we need to check out.

  • Level of coffee bean roasting. Darker roasted coffee takes a long time to burn. The lighter roasted coffee has higher caffeine content.

Changing between this roasted coffee may impact you on making your coffee not to go to sleep.

  • Water temperature. Depending on your brewing method, the water temperature does have an impact on the caffeine. The higher the water temperature the better the extraction. But, this is up to a limit of 205 degrees.

It is important to consider the water temperature. This will determine the brewing and caffeine levels.

  • Level of Grinds used. The variation on brewing uses different sizes of grind. Extra fine grind means more time used for extraction. Extra coarse grind means less caffeine extracted.
  • This position assumes that other variables are constant. These are water temperature, brewing time, and amount of coffee.
  • Coffee to water ratio. Depending on the brewing technique, the more the coffee grounds the higher the caffeine.
  • Brewing time duration. The longer the duration in brewing the higher the caffeine extracted. The time taken should impact how your caffeine content.
  • Size of your beverage- Drip brew contains higher caffeine content than the expresso. But, this might not apply when comparing content per ounce espresso comes on top.

Brewing method

Let’s look into some of the brewing methods and their caffeine content.

Quite bitter due to its brewing technique. There is no filtration used and the grinds are extra fine. The grinds meet boiling water and coffee has the highest caffeine extract.

  • Pour Over

In this brewing technique, the caffeine extracted is higher. The water passes through the grind over longer time periods. The most used grind is the extra course size. This method is often used at home. Another technique with similar results is the Chemex.

  • AeroPress

This method uses a medium grind size. This method yields high caffeine levels like the pour-over technique.

  • French Press method

This technique doesn’t give you high caffeine levels during extraction. The method uses coarse grind size and then it is immersed into water under high temperature.

  • Cold-brew

As the name suggests, this technique uses lower temperatures.  You end up with less caffeine extraction. Brewers use the longer duration and extra-fine grind to compensate for the hot temperature.

Consumers dilute the intensity of the coffee with sugar or cream. All these factors contribute to how your coffee makes you not wake up.


Understand Your Coffee

It is important to understand coffee and how its consumption affects your body. It may be tough to exhaust all the research available. But it is important to watch your consumption levels.

Coffee should make you feel energized after every drink. You should enjoy the flavors and delight in consuming them without compulsion. You should understand the science of caffeine in your body.

This article should provide you with a better understanding of how caffeine works. You can now go ahead and manage the way you drink coffee.

Go on, take charge of the way coffee leads you to wake up.


Related Articles

How To Wake Up Without Coffee?

How Long Does Coffee Keep You Awake?