Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up? 

Cup of coffee with spoon and towel. Pot of coffee behind.

According to the National Coffee Association, 7/10 Americans drink coffee, and over one billion people drink coffee every single day, worldwide. Most people use coffee to wake up and get their day started because of the caffeine found in the coffee bean. Caffeine—a compound in coffee—stimulates the central nervous system making the drinker more alert. 

But, what if coffee doesn’t wake you up like it does for others? 

What’s in Coffee?

There are more than one thousand chemical compounds found in coffee. But, the most common compounds are carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and of course, caffeine. Caffeine makes up between two to three percent of the coffee bean. 

When making a cup of coffee, a good cup is about 98 percent water and 2 percent coffee. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning that the drinker is more likely to urinate more frequently while drinking. However, it does not lead to dehydration. 

Health Advantages and Disadvantages Linked to Coffee

Drinking coffee has been linked to some health benefits. Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of coffee—but coffee is full of antioxidants and other nutrients that can help you live a longer, healthier life. 

Research at John Hopkins Medicine has concluded that drinking some coffee every day can lead to: 

  • A decreased chance of heart failure
  • Being less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease 
  • An increase healthy liver enzymes 
  • A decrease in colorectal cancer 
  • A decrease in having a stroke 

While drinking coffee has mostly positive health benefits, there are some disadvantages to drinking too much coffee. The same research conducted at John Hopkins concluded that excessive coffee intake can lead to: 

  • Raise in blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased heart rate

So, whether or not coffee wakes you up, it can still be good for you—as long as you drink it in moderation.

White coffee cup on its side with whole coffee beans spilling out

What is the Recommended Amount of Caffeine?

Now that we know that drinking coffee can have its positive and negative health benefits, knowing how much coffee should be consumed will help to ensure you’re staying as healthy as possible. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends healthy adults can have about 400 milligrams of coffee per day, which is about 13.5 ounces. (We did this conversion using our online volume calculator). The same guidelines also recommend that children under two consume no caffeine. 

Keep in mind when calculating your caffeine intake, that it’s not just coffee that has caffeine. Caffeine is also found in tea, soda, chocolate, and even some chewing gum. While the coffee consumption guidelines are outlined by health sources, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider about what’s appropriate.

Where and How Coffee is Grown?

All the coffee that is consumed today can be traced back to the Ethiopian Plateau—this is where coffee originated and was first cultivated. 

The plant in which coffee grows is known as the coffea tree, an evergreen shrub that grows in warm and tropical climates. Today, the coffea tree is grown and cultivated in what is known as the Bean Belt. The Bean Belt is an area located around the equator between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer—in other words, Central and South America, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and Africa. 

How Long Has Coffee Been Used to Wake People Up?

Drinking coffee was first recorded in the 15th century. Coffee was exported out of Ethiopia to Yemen. By 1616 the Dutch had found a Sri Laken coffee estate and exported coffee to Europe. After the Boston Tea Party in 1773, coffee became the preferred drink in the colonies.   

But, coffee also has a whole culture surrounding it, and this may differ depending on the country where it’s being consumed. 

Coffee Culture Around the World

Today, coffee is the most consumed product worldwide. So, the way humans make and drink coffee around the world is unique to many cultures. While the coffee is the consistent part, the additives—like black pepper or egg yolks—vary drastically around the world.  

Mexico—Cafe de Olla

Cafe de olla is served in a ceramic mug—which is believed to bring out the flavors in the coffee, the coffee is poured over a cinnamon stick and raw sugar, known as piloncillo—is mixed in. 

Ireland—Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a coffee cocktail that can be made by mixing in Irish whisky or a cream liquor, served with cream on top. 

Morocco—Spiced Coffee

Spiced coffee is a dark roasted coffee mixed with different spices like black pepper, clove, and nutmeg.  

Vietnam—Egg Coffee

Also known as cà phê trứng, this is a custard-like coffee. Egg yolks, condensed milk, and sugar are whisked together and placed on the top of a cup of coffee. 


Kaffeost is made using regular coffee and soft cheese. Common in other Scandinavian countries, kaffeost is made with a mild soft creamy cheese with a sweeter flavor. 

Why Doesn’t Coffee Wake Me Up?  

Coffee contains caffeine, and as mentioned, caffeine is a natural stimulant. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine blocks the receptors in your brain that make you feel sleepy. 

But, there are a few reasons why coffee isn’t waking someone up in the morning: 

  • Tolerance 
    • Routine coffee consumption impacts how much caffeine you’ll need to feel awake.
  • Hydration 
    • If you’re dehydrated it may lead to the caffeine in coffee not working as well.
    • Ensure you’re getting enough water by using our water calculator.
  • Genetics 
    • Some gene traits are not as sensitive to caffeine as others.

What to Do if Coffee Doesn’t Wake You Up

There could be a few reasons why your morning cup of joe is not waking you up like it used to—but don’t worry, there are a few things you can do or try. 

  1. Switching to a different type or brand of coffee—as mentioned, your body can build a tolerance to coffee and changing things up can help.
  2. Up your water intake—as mentioned above, if you’re dehydrated, coffee might now be working as well as it did before.
  3. Make sure you are eating well—skipping meals drains energy, making it harder for coffee to do its job if your energy is already low.
This entry was posted in Health, Lifestyle and tagged , , . By Emily DiFabio