We’ve all been there. Whether it’s pushing to meet a deadline or trying to avoid that midday crash, we’ve all desperately gulped down caffeine to keep ourselves going. Many adults consume caffeine every day in the form of coffee or energy drinks.
Unfortunately, energy drinks aren’t exactly the golden answer we all hope for. On the surface, they may seem like the perfect solution to daytime sleepiness, but when you dig a little deeper, you may find that energy drinks can do more harm than good. They may even be the cause of your afternoon crashes.
Fortunately, you can avoid the negative side effects of energy drinks with nature-based alternatives.
How Do Energy Drinks Work in the Body?
Energy drinks are designed to give you an extra burst of energy when you’re feeling tired. The golden ingredient in these seemingly magical drinks is caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it has stimulating effects on the brain and nervous system. Because of this, caffeine can make you feel more alert and energetic.
The body relies on a chemical called adenosine to tell our brains that we are tired. When adenosine builds up, it connects to receptors that tell us we should sleep. Caffeine works to block these adenosine receptors so that we feel more alert.
Energy drinks aren’t just made up of caffeine, though. Some of them also include other energizing ingredients like B vitamins, which our cells naturally use to convert nutrients into energy.
That said, energy drinks also have some ingredients with questionable reputations, like guarana, taurine, and ginseng. These ingredients still need more research to determine just how safe and effective they are.
How Much Caffeine Do Energy Drinks Usually Have?
Usually, energy drinks have anywhere between 100 and 300 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Of course, this can vary. For instance, if you like energy-shot drinks, you may be getting as much as 200 mg of caffeine in just two ounces.
Here’s a comparison to provide some context for the amount of caffeine in energy drinks:
- An eight-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 to 150 mg of caffeine
- One ounce of espresso has 64 mg of caffeine
- Eight ounces of green tea has around 30 mg of caffeine
As much as 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is generally considered safe for adults. Still, consistent caffeine consumption may have drawbacks.
Why Do Energy Drinks Make Me Feel Tired?
We’ve all seen the marketing behind energy drinks — they are supposed to boost your performance and make you feel incredible. So you might feel surprised when you are still tired, no matter how many energy drinks you power through.
However, this effect is a lot more common than you might think. There are several reasons that your daily energy drink might leave you feeling more tired than it should.
Have you ever noticed that drinking the same amount of coffee in the morning doesn’t give you the same jolt it used to? This unfortunate phenomenon happens with any caffeinated drink due to caffeine tolerance.
Over time, the neurotransmitters in your brain become less sensitive, and your body starts to need more caffeine to block the adenosine receptors. If you reach the point where you are drinking caffeine and it has little to no effect, then you will just end up feeling tired.
At that point, the only solution is to start drinking more and more caffeine. However, this will only work for a short while before your caffeine tolerance catches up.
Yes, the most well-known ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, but there is another factor that can also do damage: the sugar content. One serving of an energy drink can have up to seven teaspoons of sugar.
This means that drinking energy drinks can spike your blood glucose levels and give you a sugar rush. Since the body prefers sugar levels to stay constant, it produces a large amount of insulin to regulate the sudden sugar intake.
Once your blood sugar levels drop, your energy levels can plummet, too. This sugar crash can leave you feeling lethargic, tired, and unable to concentrate.
Although we all want a secret solution for instant energy, the number one way to replenish your energy levels and combat tiredness is to get enough sleep. However, drinking large amounts of caffeine can disrupt your sleep in a few ways.
The most significant impact that caffeine can have on your sleep is that it can affect your ability to fall asleep, keeping you alert even when you don’t want to be. And when you get less sleep, you might feel more tired the next day.
Unfortunately, cutting back on caffeine in the evenings might not help, either. Drinking caffeine as much as six hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep.
Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means you may have to go to the bathroom more frequently. Making multiple bathroom trips in the middle of the night is one of the worst disruptions for a full night’s sleep.
Energy drinks can make you feel worse even when you aren’t drinking them. In fact, the days you don’t drink them may be the ones with the most negative impact on your energy levels.
When you frequently drink caffeine and then decide to stop, you can start to undergo caffeine withdrawal.
Some of the most common side effects of caffeine withdrawal are:
- Difficulty focusing
The only solutions to caffeine withdrawal are to either drink more caffeine or tough out the symptoms for a few days. Drinking a caffeinated drink will provide quicker relief — but if you want to feel better in the long run, you may want to wait it out, let the symptoms pass, and reconsider your further caffeine intake.
How Can I Support My Overall Energy Levels Without Feeling Tired?
Yes, it is a bummer that energy drinks have so many drawbacks. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can support your energy levels without reaching for that caffeine-packed can. By building a thoughtful routine that prioritizes your health, you can support better energy levels, cut back on those feelings of tiredness, and see more sustainable results.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
To some, this may sound counterintuitive at first, but limiting caffeine can be more productive for supporting your energy levels than ramping up your intake. Drinking more caffeine might help for a little bit, but it can ultimately make you feel more tired throughout the day, especially if you rely on it too much.
Excess caffeine can also come with more adverse effects. Overdoing it on caffeine can lead to restlessness, jitters, dizziness, a fast heart rate, dehydration, and more. Caffeine may help you shake off the exhaustion, but you might not feel great in the meantime.
If you really enjoy the taste of coffee, consider drinking a cup of decaf instead. Opting for drinks with a lower caffeine content, like green tea, can also help you maintain a healthy limit.
Still, one of the best ways to reduce your caffeine intake is to decrease your need for it. You can do this by supporting your energy levels in other ways.
Try a Greens Powder
If you are looking for a more sustainable way to promote healthy energy levels, then consider replacing your daily cup of coffee with a daily greens powder. A greens powder can contain nutrients to support sustained energy and help encourage the healthy function of your body’s systems.
A greens powder might not give you the quick jolt of energy that an energy drink will, but that’s not what they are intended to do. Even better, a diet with the right nutrients and the right supplements can keep you from needing that sudden jolt of energy in the first place.
Think of it like this: You can get a quick, temporary boost by drinking an energy drink and tough out the side effects, or you can take steps to support your health for sustained energy levels over time without the risk of a crash.
L’Evate You is a greens powder that is specially formulated with our proprietary M-Charge complex to provide mitochondrial support. The mitochondria is an organ inside each one of our cells that functions like the battery pack, converting nutrients into energy.
By supporting the mitochondria, L’Evate You can support your energy right at the source.
Revamp Your Sleep Hygiene
We can’t say it enough — one of the best ways to support your energy is by getting enough sleep. However, not all sleep is the same.
On top of getting more sleep, it’s also important to make the most of it by practicing healthy sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene doesn’t just mean taking a shower before bed — it means practicing positive habits that can improve the quality of your sleep.
For example, sleeping around bright lights or using your phone before bed can impact your sleep quality and leave you feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day.
Some ways you can improve your sleep hygiene include:
- Keeping a consistent sleep schedule
- Sleeping in a dark, quiet, and comfortable environment
- Not using electronics within an hour or two before bed
- Avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
The Bottom Line
Energy drinks seem like the easy answer for those long and exhausting days, but when you dig a little deeper, the upsides might not make up for the drawbacks. Fortunately, taking steps to support your health can go a long way toward helping you feel energized throughout the day — without caffeine.
Check out our collection of Vitality Daily Greens powders to help support your overall health and wellness without any harsh crashes. With three great flavors, you won’t even miss your flavored energy drinks.
Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine