Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up? Answers & Solutions

Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up? Answers & Solutions

We love our morning cup of coffee for many reasons, but there’s no denying we love it the most for its ability to wake us up.

The everyday morning staple of many, coffee is mostly what gets us through the day.

But what happens when it stops doing what it’s supposed to?

“Why doesn’t coffee wake me up?” might be the world’s most heartbreaking question for coffee aficionados, but let’s take a look at some reasons why and how you can try to get things back the way they were.

How Does Coffee Wake You Up?


Our brains create a natural compound called adenosine. Usually, when adenosine connects to a receptor, your nerve cell activity slows down and your blood vessels dilate.

This causes drowsiness.

Now let’s say you had a cup of coffee.

In this case, the caffeine instead will bond with the receptor because your nerve cell will think caffeine looks a lot like the adenosine receptor.

And we all know caffeine’s re-energizing properties, as opposed to what we just explained as adenosines.

The caffeine will speed up your nerve cells, make your blood vessels constrict, and increase neuron firing. This entire process triggers the production of adrenaline, which is essentially why we get a kick-off of coffee.

So Why Isn’t Coffee Waking Me Up?

There are a couple of reasons why caffeine stopped having the same effect on you as it once did.

Let’s take a look at them.

  • The Type of Coffee and How It’s Made

    Different coffee beans have different caffeine content.

    Robusta, for example, has twice as much caffeine as Arabica!
    Your brewing techniques also largely indicate how much caffeine you’ll get in your cup of coffee.

    If you’ve recently switched your beans or changed the way you brew, that means you might be getting less caffeine in your drink, which is why it’s making you sleepy!

  • You’ve Built Up a Caffeine Tolerance

    Caffeine tolerance is one of the most common reasons coffee stops waking you up.

    When you regularly consume caffeinated beverages, your adenosine receptors start getting clogged by caffeine.

    Your body then gets the signal to start producing extra adenosine receptors, which as we’ve explained above, makes you drowsy.

    This means that you’ve built up a tolerance to caffeine and need to start drinking more doses of coffee to get the required effect.

  • You Are a Fast Caffeine Metabolizer

    Genetically, your sensitivity to caffeine is hereditary.

    We all have caffeine metabolizers, but some are fasters than others, making their sensitivity to caffeine lower.

    If coffee doesn’t wake you up, this might just mean you’re not as sensitive to caffeine as other people.

  • Dehydration

    If you notice caffeine doesn’t have that much of an effect on you, ask yourself if you’ve been drinking enough water.

    Dehydration already leads to fatigue and drowsiness, and coffee has the tendency to wipe out even more fluids from the body. This might be why it’s not working!

  • There’s Too Much Sugar in Your Coffee

    You’ve probably heard of something called a “sugar crash”.

    This means your blood sugar levels spike, and since sugar is metabolized faster than caffeine, its fall can lead to your feeling tired and sleepy.

  • You’re Already Too Tired

    If you pull a lot of all-nighters, overwork yourself, or sleep really late, you probably need more rest – not more coffee.

    We’ve explained above how adenosine works.

    Well, our adenosine levels rise throughout the day, but come nighttime, they settle in the receptors.

    This will make you feel sleepy and tired no matter what, and unfortunately, you’ll find coffee won’t exactly work with you that time.

Ways to Reduce Caffeine Tolerance


  • Switch Your Coffee

    It might be a hassle having to ask about the caffeine content in every drink you order, but it’s worth it.

    If your regular coffee drink just doesn’t do it anymore, consider changing it for coffee with higher caffeine levels.

    As we’ve said, different coffee types and brewing methods are a huge factor in how much caffeine you’ll get in that cup of coffee.

    So there’s definitely something out there that will do a better job at waking you up!

  • Drink the Coffee Faster

    The rate at which you drink your coffee affects how much caffeine subsequently affects you.

    Try drinking your coffee quickly: caffeine is easily absorbed by the body, so it’s best to make the best of it.

  • Drink Less Coffee

    Reducing the amount of caffeine you get gradually every day will help your energy levels balance out, and in the long run, might make caffeine as powerful as it once was for you.

  • Caffeine Break

    If you start to feel like you’re building up a tolerance to caffeine, try to cut it out for about 2 weeks.

    The withdrawal symptoms will be annoying, but this will help reset your system.

    So by the time you next drink coffee after the tolerance break, it will be the cup you’ve always been hoping for.


Caffeine tolerance is one of the most common reasons why coffee isn’t waking you up like it used to.

But fortunately, there are ways to reduce the effects of the tolerance, and maybe even undo it.

We hope that your morning cup of coffee is never void of its waking-up properties!