Many people who drink caffeine beverages experience tiredness, caffeine crashes and hangover symptoms. How do they prevent this from happening?
A caffeine crash usually occurs a few hours after a person has consumed a moderate to high dose of caffeine, when they were previously in a tired state. There is a reason for this!
Symptoms of a Caffeine Crash
- Extreme tiredness
- Inability to concentrate
- Dozing off
What are the reasons for a caffeine crash?
In simple terms:
Caffeine stops the “you are getting tired and need to take a nap, or go to sleep” chemical (called Adenosine) from attaching to the brain.
As the caffeine starts to wear off as caffeine gets metabolized, the “go to sleep” chemicals will now be flooding the brain! The brain is now telling you to “pass out urgently” (CRASH!), rather than being nudged to do so.
Adenosine promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. When awake the levels of adenosine in the brain rise each hour .
When a person is already feeling tired, they have increased levels of adenosine in their brains. If they consume caffeine, the caffeine molecule blocks the adenosine from attaching to its receptors in the brain. However, while the caffeine is keeping a person alert and energetic adenosine is continuing to build up in the person’s brain.
After a few hours, as caffeine is metabolized, its effects begin to wear off. The built up adenosine then floods its receptors which signals the body that it is time for sleep, but at a level much more intense than normal.
This is the feeling of the caffeine crash.
How to Avoid a Caffeine Crash
- Get enough sleep
- Reduce caffeine beverages
- Eat a healthy breakfast
The first step in avoiding a caffeine crash is to get adequate rest.
Starting out the day with normal adenosine levels helps prevent a crash.
Spread out your caffeine consumption throughout your workday.
Instead of having two coffees back to back in the morning, have one in the morning and another at lunchtime. Better still, cut out the coffee and energy drinks, and replace it with green tea , or you cannot stomach green tea, normal tea!
Keep your caffeine dose within reason. A single dose of more than 200 mg of caffeine at one time can lead to a caffeine crash. You can trick your mind by replacing half your instant coffee dosage with a caffeine free portion (1/2 spoon caffeinated & 1/2 spoon of caffeine-free of the same brand – for example).
Don’t consume caffeine on an empty stomach. Food provides real energy for your body and caffeine only provides a temporary sense of energy. Without real calories, the body will quickly feel fatigued and tired once the caffeine wears off. Eat a healthy breakfast along with your dose of caffeine.
What goes up must come down. When a person comes down from having too much caffeine, it can feel like a hangover.
Caffeine puts you on a chemically induced “high”.
Drastic changes in daily caffeine consumption can trigger a caffeine headache which is similar to the way someone feels when they are hungover from alcohol.
Because of the high levels of caffeine, the neurotransmitter adenosine was able to build up in the brain. Once the caffeine is metabolized, the brain is flooded with adenosine which causes feelings of extreme tiredness and lethargy.
Too much caffeine can also cause nausea and vomiting which is another may it can mimic the consumption of too much alcohol.
How to Avoid a Caffeine Hangover
Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and then use caffeine to give you that extra edge of alertness and productivity that will help you do your job or your studies without overdoing it.
Caffeine is not a replacement for sleep.