There are lots of reasons that we drink coffee. Most of us drink it because we like the flavor and we like the experience. Some people drink it to help get the day started, to help stay alert and focused during a shift, or to help stay awake at the end of a long day.
Whether you drink only a small amount of coffee, or if you get through quite a few cups during the day, it is important to be aware that coffee contains quite high levels of caffeine and that caffeine has an impact on your body. While caffeine is a very effective stimulant for the body, the downside of this is that once the effect of the caffeine wears off, you could be setting yourself up for a caffeine crash.
Is your coffee intake could be contributing to a caffeine crash? What steps can you take to avoid it a coffee crash?
How does caffeine stimulate the body?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can be found in a whole range of foods (including tea and chocolate). It is most commonly associated with coffee.
Caffeine acts upon your central nervous system – the primary physiological effects from consuming caffeine are an increased heart rate, and increased production of the chemicals adrenaline and dopamine; this can then be experienced as alertness, sharpened focus, and increased concentration.
What is a caffeine crash?
The impact of caffeine on the body is most noticeable in the first hour after you have consumed it (for example, after you have drunk your coffee). While caffeine will remain in your body for up to six hours after you have consumed it, because it has stimulated your body relatively quickly, as the effect of the caffeine begins to subside, you will notice a corresponding drop in energy and alertness.
Depending on how your body responds to caffeine will determine how noticeable or extreme a caffeine crash may be for you. If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine or if you have consumed a lot of caffeine, then the short term stimulant spike will be quite high, and the corresponding drop or dip will be felt quite severely. This is generally referred to as a caffeine crash.
Caffeine crash symptoms may include:
How do you avoid a caffeine crash?
It isn’t particularly helpful to talk in terms of recommended limits for caffeine intake or how much coffee you should drink each day – everyone is different. There’s really no such thing as a magic coffee crash cure.
1. Try to avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach
If your digestive system is just focused on the coffee alone, the caffeine will be processed quicker, which means a bigger spike and bigger crash.
2. Try to avoid eating sugary foods when drinking coffee
Sugar creates its own spike within the body so you will effectively be experiencing a double crash from the combined caffeine and sugar high.
3. Get some exercise
Balance the stimulation that your body gets from caffeine with other forms of natural stimulation such as physical exercise.
If you feel that you are having highs and lows throughout the day, then you may need to look at whether your coffee intake is having an impact in the form of caffeine crashes. By understanding the impact on your body that the caffeine in your coffee has, you can ensure that you are incorporating it into your diet in a balanced and healthy way.