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The Science Behind Caffeine Crashing and Afternoon Slumps

The Everyday Dose Team
8 min read

Do you ever notice your focus gradually fading and fatigue hitting hard after that innocent latte intended to keep you alert and energized? It's a common scenario — the sudden energy drop post-caffeine that leaves us feeling more drained than before. But why does this happen and what can be done to prevent it? Stay tuned for intriguing insights into the science behind the afternoon slump, and learn about our recommended anti-crash drink solution that can help you power through your day with sustained energy and focus.

Why Does Coffee Make Me Tired?

Fundamentally, the fatigue experienced post-caffeine buzz doesn't stem directly from caffeine. Instead, it's the adenosine receptors in your brain taking over once the caffeine blockade is lifted. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter known for its sedative effects. Your body naturally builds adenosine throughout the day, which contributes to your sleep-wake cycle. Caffeine, as the star player at the adenosine party, blocks those receptors, preventing the sleepy molecules from taking over. This allows you to feel alert and awake. 

But the party buzz doesn't last forever, thanks to a concept in pharmacology called half-life. The concept of "half-life" in pharmacology, coined by the German chemist Otto Stern in 1913, refers to the time required for a substance to reduce to half of its initial value. In the case of caffeine with a half-life of around 6 hours, consuming 200mg at midday would still leave about 100mg by midnight, affecting the nervous system as you settle down for sleep. This gradual accumulation leads to tolerance build-up, increasing caffeine dependence and the likelihood of experiencing crashes. Strategies that were effective in the past may become ineffective over time, creating a sense of reliance on caffeine.

A practical approach to avoiding the midday slump is to stay well-hydrated and know your caffeine limits. Like a good cocktail, moderation is key. Drink some water with your caffeine and consume it earlier in the day. For alternatives, consider trying mushroom coffee for a different energy boost that's gentler on the system.

We created Everyday Dose to have the right amount of caffeine (80% less than your average Starbucks) and added brain-boosting mushrooms, flow-state-inducing nootropics, and collagen to our coffee extract so that you can enjoy your favorite morning ritual, without any side effects or negative long term impact on your body.

Crashing from Caffeine

What we call a crash is essentially a rebound effect. Once the caffeine is metabolized and its stimulant effect wears off, adenosine floods those unblocked receptors, causing a sort of adenosine 'blast,' which can make you feel more tired than before you had your cup of joe. There can also be a dopamine downswing. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to the reward and pleasure parts of your brain, is affected by caffeine as well. Caffeine enhances dopamine signaling in the brain. However, as caffeine’s effects dwindle, so does your energy from the dopamine reserve. The consequence? The inevitable crash. Proper dopamine regulation is key in upholding energy levels and stable moods. Fluctuations in dopamine levels caused by external factors such as caffeine consumption can result in energy dips and emotional fluctuations.

But do we just give up on caffeine? Not so fast! Caffeine can be enjoyed in a manner that respects both its potency and the body's natural rhythm. For instance, using caffeine strategically, not habitually, and in more holistically suitable amounts of it. 

Why Am I So Tired in the Afternoon?

You might find that your afternoons are a constant battle with the urge to nap on your keyboard, almost like the afternoon fatigue is written into your DNA. It might very well be, or it could be what some call a siesta gene, with a natural lull in the circadian rhythm. It's also the time caffeine is wearing off for many regular consumers. For others, it's a matter of sleep hygiene and regularity, as these factors influence how restful the previous night was and how pronounced the midday slump might be.

However, powering through your afternoon does not have to be synonymous with caffeine dependence or crashing. Enter adaptogens, a class of herbs that, unlike direct stimulants such as caffeine, work to balance rather than spike energy levels. Mushroom coffee harnesses the adaptogenic power of mushrooms to offer a natural, sustained energy lift without the rollercoaster of a caffeine crash. Adaptogens work to enhance the body's ability to counter stressors that contribute to fatigue, making them a choice more aligned with long-term health and vitality than unhelpful caffeine habits.

Crash No More With Everyday Dose Mushroom Coffee

Everyday Dose prides itself on its blend of adaptogenic mushrooms that, through a unique extraction process, concentrate and amplify their health benefits. We combine the adaptogenic qualities of Lion's Mane and Chaga with the smooth notes of organic coffee extract and collagen protein, creating a drink that boosts focus and energy without the caffeine comedown. If you find this claim too unbelievable, here are numerous testimonials that speak to the drink's effectiveness.

It's of utmost importance to mention here that while adaptogens are a promising and growing field of research, they're not a panacea, nor should they be regarded as the only solution to an inherently complex issue like energy management. It's also critical to reiterate the importance of consulting a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet, particularly if you have existing health conditions or are pregnant or nursing.

In summary, the age-old practice of enjoying a cup of coffee is not under fire, rather, coffee rituals are a significant part of human culture, social connection, and personal enjoyment. It's the over-reliance on the quick fix with unsustainable energy levels that needs re-evaluation. When it comes to vitality, it's the long game we're after, a game adaptogens are more than ready to be a part of, alongside smarter caffeine choices and a balanced lifestyle. 

The Everyday Dose Team
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