Why Drinking Coffee Might Actually Make You Tired

How many times have you grabbed a cup of coffee first thing in the morning? Or rolled through a drive-thru and the barista already knew what your order would be and had it ready for you? If so, you're not alone — a whopping 83 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee (via USA Today). If you drink coffee because you think it's a magical wake-up juice that perks you up, though, we have some surprising news — in some cases, coffee can actually make you tired (via The/Thirty). 

This is, of course, a huge bummer. But there's some basis in fact, and it starts with coffee being a diuretic. This means that it makes you pee more, and if you're not getting enough water, it could lead to dehydration, which can lead to increased blood pressure, which in turn can make you sluggish and feel fatigued. It's a vicious cycle, really.

For those who don't take their coffee black, there's another factor to consider — the added sugar (or sweetener) can give you a blood sugar spike, which can be followed by a crash. And it's not just added sugar — if you go to a coffee shop and get something flavored with syrup (like a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte) or has other additions such as chocolate or whipped cream, there is plenty of sugar in those ingredients, too. 

Also, coffee in and of itself is addictive, which means that you can become tolerant to having only one cup of coffee a day, but over time, you feel like you really need two to experience the same effect. You'll probably notice that you're still feeling pretty tired after one cup, and need to "level up." The problem is, once you do, it can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can max out your stress and make you feel like garbage.

Finally, the caffeine in the coffee blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which makes you feel sleepy. This allows coffee to help you feel more alert and awake, but as with everything else, nothing lasts forever and the caffeine will eventually wear off. Adenosine is then no longer blocked and it can make you feel way more sleepy than you did when you first woke up this morning.

Experts say that getting enough fluids (in the form of water and not more coffee) is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels up, especially if you're pounding coffee. Avoid coffee after 2 p.m., don't overdo your consumption, and try to cut down on any sweeteners added to your drinks. But if you notice that you're just not perking up like you feel you should be, it might be time to just cut down.