Education, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Why you crash after Coffee

That cup of joe might be running you.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Nov 28, 2021

You’d be hard pressed to find a New Yorker who doesn’t have a coffee addiction. I mean, ordering at a bodega or trendy coffee shop quickly, paying, and receiving said hot beverage in under 3 minutes is taken very seriously in the Concrete Jungle. Coffee gives the caffeine boost that makes us New Yorkers feel more awake and prepared for a long day of meetings, errands, and after work events. If you are as addicted to coffee as we are, you have probably experienced a sense of tiredness every now and then. Ever wonder why?


What about coffee makes me tired?

Let’s get one thing straight, coffee is a stimulant that increases the activity in your brain and nervous system, affecting people in different ways. You might experience a caffeine crash if you didn’t sleep well or have high anxiety if you haven’t had enough water.


To get a bit scientific, a caffeine crash occurs when the adenosine molecule is blocked — resulting in an intense spell of drowsiness. Basically, when you consume coffee, and caffeine in general, it binds to the adenosine receptors of the brains and blocks them from functioning. Once the caffeine wears off in your blood stream, the built up adenosine will start to get back to functioning and results in a crash.


Okay, so how can I prevent myself from feeling tired when I drink coffee?

Basically, you need to drink water in tandem with coffee. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water with every cup of coffee to prevent fatigue. Also, the things you add to your coffee (white sugar, syrup, milks, sweetened creamers) could affect your energy, insulin levels, and blood sugar.


Excess sugar can cause an increase in insulin, leading to a sugar crash. Try to opt for zero-sugar sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit if you prefer your coffee sweet and don’t want the crash. Dairy, like the milk in your coffee, could also be affecting your energy. Tryptophan, the amino acid linked to sleepiness, is one of the main ingredients in dairy. Again, if you prefer milk, you can add nondairy creamers like oat, almond, soy, or coconut.


What else should I do to feel more awake in the morning?

We get it. Waking up can feel so hard at times. And feeling energized, bright and cheery is another thing. If you want to skip coffee and go with a more natural way to feel energized, you’d need to focus on your bedtime ritual.


Making sure you get eight hours of restful sleep with minimal interruptions is just the baseline. You should also be limiting the amount of blue light that enters your brain and vision, an hour before bed. Yes, that means no Netflix or scrolling before bed. Make sure you also have a room with windows and natural lights to stimulate the effects of the natural sunlight in the morning.


If you still want to drink coffee at home, try out these espresso machines and these Black-owned coffee companies.


Photo via Shutterstock