Can drinking coffee in the morning cause fatigue later in the day?

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes, drinking caffeine in the morning can lead to sleepiness later in the day. A few possible reasons:
  1. You feel relatively tired compared to the surge in energy following caffeine intake. Caffeine’s effects peak in 30 to 75 minutes and last for 3 to 7 hours (upper end of the range if you take in higher amounts of caffeine). At the end of the caffeine ride, you may feel less energized.
  2. That morning cup of coffee is “covering” for lack of sleep, and it eventually hits you. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your morning cup of coffee can raise energy and alertness for a few hours, but once the effects of caffeine diminish, your true state of fatigue hits.
  3. You’re having “caffeine rebound”. This takes about 12 hours, so if you had a cup of coffee in the morning, it might not be until early evening that it hits. Remember, caffeine is a drug. “Rebound” is the phenomenon of feeling the opposite from the way a drug makes you feel after it leaves your system. In the case of caffeine, the rebound is feeling drowsy and sluggish. That’s why, compared to people who don’t consume caffeine, coffee drinkers feel more tired and sluggish in the morning before they have their first cup of coffee. They’re experiencing rebound from  the overnight caffeine deprivation.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Many of us turn to coffee or tea for a morning pick-me-up, but it could be the cause of your fatigue for two reasons. First, when consumed in excess, coffee causes a surge in your metabolism, followed by a “crash.” Second, caffeine has a dehydrating effect. When you wake up, you tend to already be dehydrated from not drinking for hours. If you don’t consume any other beverages, your coffee could cause further dehydration and drain your energy. The key is to drink caffeine in moderation and to drink a full 8-ounce glass of water around the same time as your morning cup of joe to stay hydrated.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.