Coffee Doesn’t Wake Me Up – Reasons And Solutions

Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
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Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 16, 2023
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Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. For many folks, a morning without a cup of coffee will mean a slow, unproductive day. It serves to keep you alert, both mentally and physically. But what if your morning pick-me-up has been letting you down lately? What if coffee simply doesn’t keep you up? You might drink it in hopes of boosting your awareness and sharpness, but you notice it doesn’t help anymore. In fact, it might even be making you drowsy! You might wonder “Why doesn’t coffee wake me anymore?” In this post, we will delve into the various reasons why coffee might not be working for you any longer. We will also provide tips on how to get the most from your drink.

Effects of coffee

How does caffeine, the key substance in coffee, provide energy? Let us see.
Caffeine is an energy booster. It provides energy via the effects it causes to the body. This compound affects numerous neurotransmitters, some of which include serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine.
Coffee affects the sympathetic nervous system. How? Well, when you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine it contains increases the release of certain compounds in the body. These compounds, including the famous adrenaline, have different side-effects. Some of the results include an increase in heart rate. Increase in the supply of blood to the muscles, and increase in the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. All of these effects combine to make your energy levels higher than usual.
Furthermore, caffeine can act as a performer enhancer. Since one of the effects is muscle contraction, you can experience and uptick in endurance. Calcium ions are released in the muscle fibers.
Coffee also acts to block adenosine, a compound that plays a part in making you drowsy. Adenosine builds in the brain while you are awake. When the compound reaches a certain volume, you start getting drowsy until you can’t help but fall asleep. Coffee acts by delaying the accumulation of this compound.
In view of these effects of coffee, it might be surprising that it no longer has an effect on the drinker. There are a couple of reasons why coffee loses its effect.

  1. You have reached your healthy limit
  2. You are not getting enough sleep
  3. You are drinking too much caffeine from other sources
  4. You are using medications

Later in this post, we will consider each of these reasons.

What types of coffee make you stay awake?

Coffee Doesn’t Wake Me Up - Reasons And SolutionsThe answer is simple. All types of coffee keep you awake. As long as the coffee is not listed as decaffeinated, it will likely keep you sharp and active.
While that is so, it is a fact that there are certain types of coffee that contain a higher concentration of caffeine than others do. This is usually a result of the preparation method used in brewing the coffee. However, there are limitations to consider. If you already feel sleepy, or are close to passing out due to fatigue, drinking loads of coffee is not likely going to ward away sleep.

Type of coffee

Generally, on the coffee market, there are two important types of coffee. Recall that coffee is made from coffee beans. The two main types of commercial coffees are the Arabic coffee and the Robusta coffee. Arabica coffee is a type of coffee that produces a high quality drink. According to drinkers, it comes with more pleasant and complex taste than other coffees. While Arabica coffee tastes great, it does not match Robusta type of coffee’s caffeine content. Robusta contains twice as much caffeine than Arabica coffee beans.


The way that coffee is prepared also affects the amount of caffeine in the drink. Coffee preparation can be divided in two: Espresso and others. Preparing coffee the Espresso way will provide you with more caffeine. It is stronger and delivers a harder punch.
However, because Espresso is served in small servings, the caffeine content of a shot of Espresso is not as high as that found in a regular cup of filtered coffee. You will find approximately 53 mg of caffeine in a shot of Espresso, and find up to 175 mg of caffeine in a cup of drip coffee.

What are the reasons why coffee doesn’t wake you up?

Now, let us consider some of the reasons why coffee, despite the amount of caffeine it contains, fails to keep you up.

You have reached your healthy limit

Healthy limit? Yes! It might sound unbelievable, but there is such a thing as too much coffee. Moderation is key in everything, and it applies to your coffee intake as well. If you just require a cup or two of caffeinated coffee to get through the day and overcome the afternoon slumps, then you might be fine. Coffee should be drunk, not to feel normal, but to feel more than normal. If you observe that without a cup of coffee you cannot accomplish basic tasks and related matters, then you might need to reset your intake.
To do this, you might need to completely eliminate it from your life for several weeks. Afterwards, you should be able to feel the effects again. More about this will be discussed later in the article.

You lack sleep

Coffee Doesn’t Wake Me Up - Reasons And SolutionsAlthough it is true that coffee makes you alert, it is not a magical drink. If you do not get enough sleep, rest assured that the coffee will not work. No matter how many cups you down, there is only so much this drink can do for you. According to a report, if you haven’t slept well in three days, do not bother with drinking coffee; it will not work. The best thing to do at this point is to lay your head down and sleep.

You are cheating on coffee

Soda drinks, energy drinks, and many sport drinks contain a rather high level of caffeine. In fact, many of these drinks do not advertise their caffeine composition. Until you read the packaging, you might not realize that your favorite energy drink is slowly increasing your tolerance to caffeine. To combat this, reduce the amount of energy drinks you consume. Check the back of all the drinks you consume and check the amount of caffeine they contain.

Medication might be interfering

If you are using a stimulant, for example, Adderall or Wellbutrin, then you might not feel the effects of coffee. To close the gap, it is recommended that you eat more energy adding foods.


It might sound surprising, but one reason why coffee does not keep you up might be that you are genetically disposed to fighting the effects. According to a report from the Havard School of Public Health, there are eight genetic variants connected to caffeine consumption. Your genes affect how the caffeine is absorbed by the body, although it isn’t clear why.
There are other factors that affect your tolerance, including weight, body mass index, age, and others.

How to reduce caffeine tolerance

If you have discovered that you have caffeine tolerance, here are ways to get back on track.

Drink the coffee faster

One unknown factor that affects how much caffeine affects you is the rate at which you drink it. Caffeine is easily absorbed by the body, and almost the entire compound is absorbed in about 45 minutes of entering your system. As you drink your caffeine in the morning, do not waste time on it. Drink it quickly and watch as your body systems are spiked to the max.

Ditch the latte

If you prefer to drink your coffee at your favorite coffee house instead of brewing it yourself, ditch the latte. One espresso shot contains up to 50% less caffeine than a cup of regular coffee, likely because it is in a small serving and the coffee takes longer to brew. As you order, ditch the latte.  Starbuck’s Tall Latte, for example contains around 75mg of caffeine, while a Tall Bold Pick of the Day coffee contains up to 260 mg caffeine. If you aren’t getting enough caffeine, it is clear which of the two to order for.

Go on a caffeine break

We talked about this earlier in the article, but will like to reiterate it. If you discover that you have built a tolerance to caffeine, it might be time to go on a detox. If your body can’t feel the effect of coffee any longer, then you should cut it out.
Refrain from caffeine for at least two weeks (fight the withdrawal symptoms). Doing this is like resetting your system and making everything return to normal. When you return after your self-imposed caffeine exile, you might feel the effects of caffeine better.

Reduce the amount you drink

If going on a break is too much hassle, you can gradually reduce the amount you consume every day until your body energy balances, or until you do not need it for energy any longer.

Get alternatives

Although you might not get the clean, refreshing alertness that coffee delivers, there are other alternatives that can help you.  Some other alternatives include mint tea, exercise, refreshing music, and any other thing to keep you alert.

Final words

Coffee Doesn’t Wake Me Up - Reasons And SolutionsA tolerance to coffee is the most common reason why many do not feel the effects of coffee any longer, and it might be the reason why you don’t get the kick you used to. You can undo a caffeine tolerance by cutting back on the caffeine consumption for a while. You can either go slowly; drinking a little less coffee every day, or go hard, cutting it off entirely from your life.  If you are going for the latter, be ready for withdrawal symptoms, especially within the first week. You will feel lethargic, unfocused, and highly irritable.

If you manage to survive the week without giving in, then you are very well on your way to recovery. Once you get your caffeine groove back, it would be wise not to fall into the same pattern as before. Start with small amounts every day until you feel a punch you never did before.

Enjoy your coffee in moderation and experience the amazing benefits of this wonderful beverage.

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