Drinking coffee as soon as you wake up helps many people to make a full of energy ahead of the workday, but after several years of intake it can happen that the caffeine has less effect, and that to charge up you no longer need just one cup, but need to drink several.

Why caffeine makes you feel more awake

Drinking coffee increases the feeling of being more awake and improves mood and mental performance. This happens because caffeine is a stimulant that acts as an antagonist of the adenosine receptor, a substance that promotes drowsiness.

According to a 2012 study, caffeine can block up to 50% of these receptors when it is repeatedly consumed throughout the day, although it should not be abused to avoid getting the opposite effect. In fact, it seems to work better when taken intermittently, rather than religiously every morning.

Caffeine, besides coffee, is also present in matcha tea.

Like any other food, coffee has a shelf life, be careful not to exceed it.

Drinking too much caffeine can make you immune

The daily consumption of caffeine makes this substance less effective because the body develops a tolerance to it. So, paradoxically, the more coffee or caffeinated beverages you drink, the less noticeable the effect will be, because the brain compensates for its high presence by deploying more adenosine receptors to combat it.

Also, not all people respond the same way to substances. Tolerance, in fact, is partly influenced by genetics and at the same consumption reactions can be different.

Moreover, even from a purely medical point of view, even if one realizes that the effect of coffee on one’s body is not the same as in the past, it is good not to exaggerate with quantities. According to the guidelines of the Efsa, European Food Safety Authority, the daily dose that should not be exceeded is 400 milligrams, about 4 cups. Abusing caffeine exposes you to the risk of:

  • headache,
  • insomnia,
  • nervousness,
  • irritability,
  • frequent urination or inability to control urination,
  • accelerated heart rate,
  • muscle tremors.

How to get caffeine back

According to a 2019 study done on a group of people, taking a break from caffeine would allow adenosine receptors to readjust to a lower level that doesn’t need extra work. This mechanism would bring each value back into balance and caffeine would start working again.

To reach this conclusion, study participants were given approximately 200 milligrams of caffeine for 20 consecutive days, and a placebo solution for another 20. At the end of the experiment, compared to the placebo, caffeine had significantly increased peak cycling power for the first 15 days. However, after that time, the effect had diminished.

Avoid abrupt stops

Once addiction and habituation develop, it is necessary then to decrease caffeine intake but stopping abruptly can be harmful and cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, nausea, muscle aches and irritability. These discomforts can start 12 to 24 hours after the last dose of caffeine and last from two to nine days. To avoid them it is better to gradually reduce the intake, keeping track of the daily quantities. Alternatively, a good substitute can be decaffeinated coffee.

Five ways to boost energy without caffeine

Giving up or cutting back on coffee doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of its beneficial effects altogether. There are many other ways, in fact, to charge up.

Mixing protein and fiber during meals

What you eat can make a big difference in your energy intake. To make sure you’re getting sustained energy, it’s ideal to combine a lean protein with a fiber-rich carbohydrate. Some examples might be low-fat yogurt with fruit, apple slices with peanut butter or carrots and cheese.

Drinking a smoothie

Starting the day with a fresh fruit and vegetable drink is a great way to ensure a morning energy boost, even better if you add green leafy vegetables to your smoothie. These vegetables, in fact, contain natural nitrates that convert to nitric oxide in the body, opening up blood vessels and ensuring more oxygen and energizing nutrients to the body’s cells.

Beet Flavor Milk

Simply mix beet powder, hot unsweetened milk, a pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for an extra dose of energy as beet contains high levels of energizing nitrates.

Hydrate properly

Drinking less than the recommended amount of water per day, and therefore being slightly dehydrated, can lead to fatigue. To avoid this feeling, in addition to consuming at least two liters of water during the day, it is useful to drink a glass – or a herbal tea – in the morning, immediately after waking up.

Making movement

Physical activity increases your heart rate and, by getting your blood flowing faster, sends extra oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which then feel more energetic. It takes very little to benefit from this feeling, even a brisk walk of about twenty minutes.