Caffeine, we hate to love it. But whether it’s for the taste or the energy boost; globally, an estimated 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day! (1)
As popular as it is, it can also come with many negativities attached to it. For instance, the crash from the high, feeling groggy a few hours after consuming coffee, or feeling jittery. We want to share six practical tips for preventing or combating caffeine crashes, and also address how mushroom coffee can help.
Historians believe that caffeine was consumed as far back as 2737 BC, when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung boiled water and mixed it with leaves from a nearby bush, creating a pleasant aroma and the first pot of tea.(2) Coffee originated many years later, in the 9th century in Ethiopia, when a shepherd began consuming wild coffee berries after observing that his goats had increased energy after eating them!
WHAT IS A CAFFEINE CRASH?
A caffeine crash happens after the effects of caffeine wear off. Caffeine blocks the action of a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine is a neuromodulator that promotes relaxation and sleepiness. Throughout the day, as adenosine levels increase, you start feeling more tired and drowsy, encouraging you to rest and sleep. Adenosine also helps regulate blood flow in the brain by causing blood vessels to dilate. By blocking adenosine receptors in the brain, caffeine temporarily prevents adenosine from exerting its calming effects. This leads to increased alertness, improved concentration, and reduced perception of fatigue. Essentially, caffeine promotes wakefulness and keeps you feeling more alert and focused. Although your brain doesn’t stop producing adenosine, the caffeine temporarily blocks adenosine from doing its job. When the caffeine wears off, however, the adenosine floods back, which causes you to be tired; it can cause trouble focusing, lowers your energy levels and can lead to mood swings. The effects are often intensified as dropping from a caffeine high makes the intensity of the crash more severe!
COMBATING CAFFEINE CRASHES
1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Recommended sleep time for adults is between 7 to 9 hours per night. A survey for the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) (3) found that the UK public is under-sleeping by an average of almost an hour every night – which amounts to losing an entire night’s sleep over the course of a week! When you get enough sleep, your adenosine levels are balanced enough not to have a caffeine crash. Therefore, the more sleep you get, the less likely you are to experience a caffeine crash. Also, remember to not drink caffeine too close to bedtime, as it will keep you awake!
2. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Staying adequately hydrated is essential for maintaining optimal bodily functions and overall well-being. When sufficiently hydrated, your body can function more efficiently, making it easier to regulate temperature, remove waste products, and transport nutrients.
Drinking coffee is not hydrating so although you may feel like your daily Americano is mainly water, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and can contribute to bodily fluid loss. When you consume caffeinated beverages, you may lose more water through urine than usual. This can lead to dehydration, which can exacerbate feelings of fatigue, drowsiness, and other symptoms associated with a caffeine crash.
Drinking water alongside caffeinated beverages can help dilute the concentration of caffeine in your system. This can potentially reduce the intensity of the stimulant effect and make the crash less severe.
3. DRINK OUR DIRTEA MUSHROOM COFFEE
An article in the heart foundation (4) states caffeine can increase heart rate and/or prompt heart palpitations. It is advised for adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding to have a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day and no more than 200mg in one sitting.
DIRTEA Mushroom Coffee has up to 80% less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee, with only 50mg of caffeine per serving. This results in a more balanced energy surge without the jitters and crashes associated with high caffeine consumption. It also contains functional mushrooms, which are adaptogenic, which means they can help adapt the body to stress and instead of bringing on a caffeine-high, they will balance you so that you stay in an equilibrium state. DIRTEA Mushroom coffee has three mushrooms; Lion’s Mane, which may improve focus, Cordyceps and Chaga, which may also provide natural energy.
4. DON’T DRINK COFFEE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, AND EAT WELL
Coffee is acidic, and when consumed on an empty stomach, the high acidity can irritate the stomach lining. This can potentially lead to discomfort, bloating, and even gastritis in some individuals.
To minimise the potential adverse effects of drinking coffee on an empty stomach, you can consider the following tips:
- Before drinking coffee, have a small meal or snack to buffer the stomach's acidity.
- Try drinking coffee with meals.
- Consider consuming a balanced breakfast or light meal with proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates alongside your coffee to reduce its impact on the digestive system.
- Functional mushrooms are alkaline. Therefore, drinking mushroom coffee can potentially balance out the acidity.
5. SUBSTITUTE COFFEE FOR OUR DIRTEA MATCHA SUPER BLEND
As much as our mushroom coffee is energy-boosting, if you are on the search for an alternative energy boost, sub your coffee with our DIRTEA Matcha Super Blend! It will give you that prolonged energy without the jitters or the crash.
Matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which alters and levels the effects of the caffeine in matcha. This means you can feel the effects of matcha for a few more hours than if you drank regular coffee. L-theanine is often known to provide relaxed alertness for an average of 6-8 hours without causing drowsiness and it can even improve mood and maintain normal sleep. (5)
6. KEEP ACTIVE
Keeping active will reduce the severity of caffeine crashes. You do not need to over-exert yourself, which can also lead to fatigue. An acute brisk walk may reduce some of the symptoms of a caffeine crash. Physical activity promotes increased blood circulation throughout the body, including the brain. This can deliver oxygen and nutrients more efficiently, which can counteract the effects of fatigue and promote alertness. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that contribute to feelings of well-being and increased energy. These natural mood enhancers can help counteract the tiredness associated with a caffeine crash.
As a society that relies on the stimulating effects of caffeine to get through the day, caffeine crashes serve as a reminder that we need to listen to our bodies. While the initial jolt of alertness can be tempting, the subsequent crash highlights the importance of moderation and self-awareness. Understanding the causes and effects of caffeine crashes and embracing ways to prevent them can empower you to make informed choices about your consumption patterns, promoting overall well-being and maintaining sustainable energy levels.
- Poole R, Ewings S, Parkes J, Fallowfield, J.A., and Roderick, P.(2019) ‘Misclassification of Coffee Consumption Data and the Development of a Standardised Coffee Unit Measure’ BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2 (1). doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2018-000013
- Heckman, M.A., Weil, J., Gonzalez De Mejia, E. (2010). ‘Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in Foods: A Comprehensive Review on Consumption, Functionality, Safety, and Regulatory Matters’. Journal of Food Science. 75 (3), pp.R77-R87. doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01561.x
- RSPH. (2016) ‘Public Missing Out on a Night’s Worth of Sleep Every Week’. Available at: https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/public-missing-out-on-a-night-s-worth-of-sleep-every-week.html (Accessed: 1 August 2023)
- Heart Foundation. (2020). ‘Can I Drink Coffee and Have a Healthy Heart?’ Available at: https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/about-us/news/blogs/can-i-drink-coffee-and-have-a-healthy-heart#:~:text=Some%20downsides%20can%20include%20feeling,heart%20palpitations%20and%20sleep%20problems (Accessed: 1 August 2023)
- Baba, Y., Inagaki, S., Nakagawa, S., Kaneko, T., Kobayashi, M., and Takihara T. (2021). ‘Effects of l-Theanine on Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Subjects: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study’. J Med Food. 2021 24(4), pp.333-341. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2020.4803.