Why Does Coffee Wake You Up?
Most of us think about an early morning cuppa to give us a well needed lift in the morning. But we can also benefit from a coffee kick during the day when we start to feel our energy levels dropping.
- The active ingredient in coffee is primarily caffeine, and this is responsible for perking us up when we drink it.
- The levels of caffeine will vary depending on the type of coffee, and coffee drinkers all have their favourite, from frothy creamy drinks to short dark espressos.
- A double espresso will provide more caffeine than a mug of instant coffee and the faster you drink, the faster you will feel the effects.
- Although caffeine is also present in tea, cola and chocolate, levels are higher in in coffee than in other foods.
Although caffeine is the active ingredient, the beneficial effects that we feel as we drink our coffee are caused by the way that the caffeine reacts with other chemicals in the body. The feeling of sleepiness
is caused by adenosine
is created throughout the day to protect our brain from being overloaded, and to ensure that our bodies rest. As the day progresses, adenosine builds up, and no matter what we do to counteract the feeling of sleepiness, adenosine is only removed by a good night’s sleep. Sometimes we wake up feeling sleepy, because we still have some adenosine present, and this is when the early morning coffee gives us a well-needed lift.
As You Drink Your Coffee Two Different Things Start To Happen
- The caffeine gets to work by blocking the effects of adenosine on your brain, and stimulation chemicals start to flow throughout the body. Caffeine dissolves in fat and water, so it can move very quickly to your brain. The caffeine molecules are the same shape as adenosine molecules, and they are able to lock on to adenosine receptors. All the while that the caffeine molecules are attached, adenosine molecules are locked out, so you will feel refreshed and energised.
- When your coffee reaches your stomach the caffeine is broken down, releasing energy into the bloodstream, increasing oxygen flow to your muscles and brain, and increasing your heart rate.
The Effects of Caffeine on The Body
Caffeine has the ability to stay in the body for a long time, but the effect it has on individuals can vary. For some, an after-dinner coffee will not keep them awake, whereas others may need to stop drinking caffeinated drinks mid-afternoon in order to enjoy a decent night’s sleep. For millions of people, nothing can beat a cup of coffee to refresh and energise throughout the day.
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