If you’re working long hours or have lots to do, it’s easy to turn to caffeinated drinks for some much-needed energy. This always seems like a good idea…until you get a huge caffeine crash, and feel even more tired than you did before. We’ve all been there – but there are ways to consume caffeine and not end up with energy crashes from coffee.
Don’t believe us? Here are five of our top tips for drinking coffee without an energy crash.
What is a caffeine crash?
If you drink lots of caffeinated drinks, then you probably know what we’re talking about already. A caffeine-induced energy crash can occur from 25 minutes to a couple hours after you’ve consumed coffee or tea. It makes you feel extremely tired and sleepy, irritable, and unable to concentrate. Sometimes it can even feel a bit like a hangover due to nausea and headaches.
Needless to say, it’s not a pleasant experience, especially if you’re drinking coffee because you’re feeling tired in the first place! But there are ways to ensure that you can drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages without feeling like this afterwards.
Drink plenty of water
This might sound counter-intuitive, but even though coffee is mostly made from water, it doesn’t really hydrate you. While the idea that coffee will dehydrate you has been debunked, coffee is still a mild diuretic. (This means that it’ll make you lose fluids). So it’s always a good idea to replace those fluids with water. But drinking water goes further than that. When you drink a water with coffee, it can help stop your energy crash as well as rehydrate you!
People have an energy crash from 25 minutes to a couple hours after drinking coffee because caffeine blocks adenosine in your brain. Adenosine is what signals sleepiness – so when the caffeine blocks it, your brain stays awake and alert. However, when you’re drinking coffee, your brain doesn’t stop producing adenosine. So when the caffeine wears off, all of that extra adenosine floods your brain, making you even more tired than you were before. Drinking water before or during your coffee will help reduce this effect.
There’s also a reason why some coffee shops serve water alongside your coffee, and that’s because it can cleanse your palate! Drinking water alongside coffee will make sure that there are no other flavours in your mouth, leading to an even better taste. When you’re drinking speciality-grade coffee, then this is a must.
Get a good night’s rest
Another way to ensure that your brain isn’t overwhelmed with adenosine after drinking coffee is by getting a good night’s sleep. When you’re tired, you’ll already have a higher level of adenosine in your brain. The caffeine crash will definitely hit you hard if you’re drinking coffee in this state.
There are lots of different ways to help ensure a good night’s rest. Firstly, don’t consume caffeine after 6pm! Caffeine has a half-life of around five hours. This means that it’ll continue keeping you awake for around five hours after consumption. Don’t get into a cycle of drinking coffee in the evening, staying awake, and then needing even more coffee in the morning to get you going again. High levels of caffeine have also been linked to insomnia (difficulty falling and staying asleep), so if you have trouble with your sleep, you may want to cut down on the amount of coffee you’re consuming every day.
You can also help yourself get a good night’s sleep by:
- Limiting screen use before bed
- Relaxing with a meditative podcast
- Sticking to a sleep schedule
Of course, how much caffeine affects you will change from person to person – some people can go to bed right after drinking coffee with no problem at all. So experiment with your last coffee of the day to see what works best for you. This will definitely stop energy crashes from coffee.
Spread it out
Spreading your cups of coffee throughout the day will also help to reduce any possible energy crash. Instead of knocking back coffee after coffee, make sure there are at least a couple of hours between each caffeinated drink. This will release the caffeine more steadily, over a longer period, which will help sustain your energy levels. We suggest having your first cup between 9 and 11:30am, and a second between 1 and 5pm – after breakfast and after lunch is ideal. This will give you a double boost of short and long-term energy, and it’ll help you enjoy the coffee more, because you’re not just thinking about that next infusion of caffeine.
It’s also best not to drink a cup of coffee right as you wake up in the morning. We know it’s tempting to get that sudden jolt of energy in the morning, but this actually goes against your body’s natural circadian rhythm. When you wake up in the morning, your circadian rhythm creates cortisol – this is the ‘stress steroid’. It makes you alert and awake. According to research, most people experience a natural cortisol boost around 8 or 9am. So any caffeine you drink during this period is pretty much wasted. You’ll get the energy crash…but without getting any real benefit from it.
It’s also a good idea to always drink coffee on a full stomach. There are lots of reasons for this. Firstly, nutritious food gives you a long-lasting, natural source of energy that will keep you going throughout the day. Caffeine, in comparison, is a short-term source of energy. So when you drink coffee without eating, your body will be relying solely on this short-term energy, which will run out very quickly! By eating before you drink coffee, you’re giving yourself two sources of energy. This will give you both a short-term energy surge and a long-term store of energy to last the whole day.
We suggest drinking coffee with or right after a balanced meal. Great sources of long-lasting energy include brown rice, eggs, bananas, nuts, and sweet potatoes.
Furthermore, if coffee sometimes makes you feel sick, you should definitely eat a nutritious meal before drinking it. Coffee is acidic, so if you drink it on an empty stomach, it can actually increase the production of acid in your stomach and make you feel nauseous. Try to also avoid eating highly acidic foods like grapefruit, oranges and tomatoes whilst drinking coffee if this is a problem for you.
Avoid the Caffeine Crash with Decaf Coffee
Finally, a surefire way to reduce energy crashes from caffeine is to not consume any caffeine at all! We wouldn’t ever suggest to completely stop drinking coffee, but we do suggest switching one or two of your coffees to decaf. We know that decaffeinated coffee has a bad reputation – but trust us when we say that speciality-grade decaf coffees taste just as good as normal, caffeinated ones! We’ve actually written a whole blog post about decaf coffee, including why it has a bit of a bad reputation, and why we think you should give our speciality-grade decaf a go.
You can also head to our shop to see what decaf coffees we currently have available! Lots of our customers have great things to say about our decafs:
Those were just five ways to help stop energy crashes from coffee. If you’d like to know more about caffeine and coffee, we’ve written a post all about the effects of caffeine, as well as how to drink coffee more mindfully.
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