What Is a Caffeine Crash?
A caffeine crash is the sudden onset of fatigue and drowsiness you experience when the effects of caffeine wear off.
How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant, consuming a low-to-moderate dose of caffeine (20-200mg) results in enhanced focus, increased alertness and improved energy levels, whilst delaying the onset of fatigue.
These effects tend to last for around 5 hours depending on an individual’s caffeine metabolism.
Caffeine works by blocking the action of a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine acts as a “sleepiness signal” that builds up in the body over the course of the day and causes feelings of fatigue when it binds to receptors in the brain.
What Causes Caffeine Crashes?
When caffeine is consumed, it binds to adenosine receptors, which stops adenosine being able to bind, preventing you from becoming tired and fatigued.
However, when the effects of caffeine wear off, all of the free adenosine that was previously unable, will rapidly bind to their receptors, leading to a sudden onset of fatigue, drowsiness, and sluggishness.
Taken in moderate amounts and at the right times of day, caffeine can have beneficial effects on concentration and alertness and the effects of caffeine wearing off are much less noticeable.
However, consuming high doses of caffeine can result in a drastic drop in energy once the effects wear off. This happens because there’s a buildup of adenosine molecules that bind all at once when caffeine’s effect weakens.
Caffeine crashes can feel more exhausting than just general tiredness due to the suddenness of its onset. The combination of caffeine wearing off and adenosine binding in rapid succession means your energy levels drop more abruptly than without caffeine.
The Link Between Caffeine Crashes and Low Blood Sugar
Another common cause of the symptoms associated with a caffeine crash is a “blood sugar crash”. A blood sugar crash is a rapid drop in blood glucose levels, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause symptoms such as increased tiredness, dizziness and a reduced ability to concentrate.
Caffeine can cause an increase in insulin secretion, which removes blood glucose from the blood and transports it to where it is needed (e.g. the brain or muscles). Increased insulin release is more common in people who consume a high dose of caffeine (more than 200mg), have a low tolerance to caffeine, or consume caffeine in the form of a sugary drink.
Caffeine-induced fluctuations in blood sugar levels can exacerbate the symptoms of a caffeine crash, especially in individuals with poor blood sugar control. Leading to hypoglycemia, which also leads to feelings of tiredness. Often it can be difficult to distinguish between a caffeine or blood sugar crash, but due to the abundance of caffeinated drinks with high sugar contents, they are often working in tandem.
How to Avoid a Caffeine Crash
A caffeine crash can not only leave you feeling completely drained, but it can also disrupt your entire day.
However, you can prevent caffeine crashes altogether with sensible use of caffeine and a couple of lifestyle modifications. Here are the best ways you can avoid a caffeine crash:
Avoid Consuming Caffeine in a Fasted State
Consuming high doses of caffeine without eating can increase the chance of experiencing a blood sugar crash due to its ability to promote the release of insulin.
Whereas, eating a balanced meal or snack containing slow-digesting (low-GI) carbohydrates, high protein and a small to moderate amount of fat within 2 hours of consuming caffeine will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and give you sustained energy even when the effects of caffeine wear off.
Improve Your Sleep
Improving your sleep quantity (time spent asleep) or sleep quality (how restful your sleep is) will reduce your overall need for caffeine. A lack of quality rest leads to mental fatigue, decreased performance, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and physical exhaustion, causing you to reach for a quick caffeine fix.
However, by sleeping well you may be able to reduce your need for caffeine altogether, meaning you’re less likely to consume high amounts of caffeine that may result in a crash.
One way to get more sleep is by removing caffeine from your late evenings. It can take up to 6 hours for caffeine to work its way out of your system. Therefore, pulling the plug on caffeinated products earlier in the day will help promote relaxation when bedtime arrives, creating a better environment for a full night’s rest.
Use Less Caffeine
Avoiding big spikes in energy from caffeine by cutting down the dose during afternoons is key to combating that dreaded afternoon, caffeine crash induced slump.
Aim to keep daily consumption within a low to moderate range (20-200mg) and only use caffeine when you really need it.
We created Ginger Roars because when your energy dips a bit you don’t always want a massive whack of caffeine that rips your heart out of your chest. at 33mg Ginger Roars are a gentle little boost, to get you through your day and not affect your sleep.
Spread Out Your Caffeine Intake
Instead of consuming 1-2 big hits of caffeine during the day, it can be beneficial to spread the same caffeine intake over a longer period of time whilst maintaining the same caffeine cut off time in the afternoon.
Spreading out your caffeine intake helps maintain consistent caffeine levels in the blood, resulting in sustained energy throughout the day without significant peaks and troughs in energy.
Avoid Consuming Caffeine Products with Varying Caffeine Content
To minimise the likelihood of experiencing a caffeine crash, it can help to only caffeine products that provide clear information about their caffeine content.
For example, coffee can vary significantly in its caffeine content making it challenging to accurately gauge intake.
By choosing products with consistent and accurate caffeine content e.g. energy chews, you can better regulate your consumption and avoid unintentionally consuming excessive amounts of caffeine.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
It may seem obvious, but by consuming adequate nutrients and avoiding a high intake of sugary foods you’re much less likely to be fatigued during the day and therefore less reliant on caffeine.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet plays a crucial role in sustaining consistent energy levels throughout the day. When you consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods, your body receives a steady supply of essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. This balanced nutrition provides a stable source of energy and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
It might take some pre-planning to fuel your day with real nutrition, but in the end you’ll have more sustained energy than if you opted for doughnuts and energy drinks.
Choose Low-Sugar Caffeinated Products
Energy drinks and sweetened coffees can contain high levels of sugar which can cause a large spike and fall in blood sugar levels, amplifying the increase in fatigue often associated with a caffeine crash.
Therefore it’s better to opt for lower sugar caffeinated products to ensure you’re not likely to cause a blood sugar crash.
We created Caffeine Bullet to provide an alternative energy solution without the MONSTERous amounts of sugar you’d find in energy drinks.
At Caffeine Bullet, our mission is to help energise the world by providing a solution that combines convenience and health for those seeking an energy boost.
Our goal is to offer an alternative to the excessive reliance on caffeine, while still providing the option for a quick and healthy energy lift precisely when it’s needed most. We encourage caffeine to be utilised strategically and only as necessary.
That’s why we created Ginger Roars. We wanted to create a product that allows for better control over your caffeine intake, giving a more subtle lift. Ginger Roars are plant-based, ginger-infused energy chews containing 33 mg of caffeine per chew. We perfected the recipe to help maintain energy levels throughout a long day or give yourself a gentle pick-me-up, but you can still use 2-3 chews to improve exercise performance.
If you’re looking for a stronger kick, Caffeine Bullets contain 100 mg of caffeine per chew. This heightened dosage is tailored to enhance performance, making it the ideal choice for individuals seeking that extra boost.