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Can Caffeine Make You Tired? And Answers to Other Tiredness Questions

Does Caffeine Make You Tired - Tired Woman Staring at Coffee

Do you really get a boost out of your daily coffee or is it putting your brain to sleep?


Caffeine is popular and taken for a variety of reasons. And many of us drink coffee in the morning and throughout the day to give us an energy boost…

But how much of an energy boost does it really provide?

And are there any consequences with giving yourself these ‘boosts' of energy?

To find the answer, lets have a look at how much caffeine we are really injesting and what is considered ‘normal'

Caffeine – The Landscape

You will find caffeine not just in coffee, but also in

  • Tea
  • Chocolate – especially the dark varieties
  • Soda / Soft drink (including but not limited to colas).
  • Medicines

Yes! Some medicines are fortified with caffeine – so watch out for it in pain relievers -especially for migraine, and in diet pills (where it has little or no effect on weight loss).

How Much Caffeine Are You Really Having?

The average caffeine content of an 8-oz, brewed cup of coffee is 95 mg. A single espresso contains 63 mg, and decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine.

A can of cola has approximately 35mg per can (375ml) and a standard branded tea bag has approximately 55mg of caffeine.

And for chocoholics the news is good. Dark chocolate usually contains only 5 -20 mg per ounce and milk chocolate less at 3.5 – 6mg per ounce. [3]

Does Caffeine Make You Tired - Coffee SizesAlthough a standard coffee is 8 oz, the Grande size at Starbucks is twice the size at 16 oz.

How Much Caffeine Should You Be Having?

Since the recommended amount of caffeine is usually 400 mg per day for healthy adults, according to the Mayo Clinic. [2] This works out at around 4 cups of coffee, or over 100 cups of decaf per day!

A 30 gm bar of milk chocolate has about the same amount as a cup of decaf coffee, as does an 8 ounce cup of hot chocolate.

What Happens When You Ingest Caffeine?

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and catechol-amines are released. These include dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine – the stress response hormones.

In layman terms, taking caffeine (in any form) makes you feel more alert and ready for action. And as a short-term response this effect is stimulating – a cup of coffee is a pleasant way to start the day. Many of us find it difficult to do without our coffee fix to wake us up in the morning.

The right amount of caffeine can even keep us on task and awake when we are not getting enough sleep. [1]

Caffeine Overdose

However, after a while the effect wears off – and we need another cup of coffee until we find we are drinking so much caffeine that we get headaches, jittery feelings and a may find getting to sleep is difficult.

You should not exceed 400 mg per day caffeine, or around 4 cups of coffee. Caffeine overdose may occur if you exceed this. The symptoms include nervousness, excitement, restlessness, flushed face, insomnia – and general tiredness during periods without caffeine.

So – does caffeine make you tired? The short answer is that it has the opposite effect until we find we are taking too much – and then a restless weariness takes over.


Coffee can help to keep you on task, especially when you are sleep deprived, but too much will interfere with normal sleeping and produce a nervous tension, thus making you more tired.

So, can caffeine make you tired? Yes, but you don’t have to do without. Moderate caffeine intake can help you stay alert and focus when you need it.

If it is making you tired, try restricting your intake 4 hours before you go to bed.

If you don't think caffeine is what is making you tired…

You can find other popular reasons that cause tiredness here

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