Caffeine is a crystalline compound that acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy. Caffeine tricks your brain into thinking you’re not tired by impersonating and blocking adenosine.
...caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy.
Adenosine is a chemical in your brain that is considered a neurotransmitter. Adenosine is one of the substances that supports nervous system communication and it carries messages to individual nerve cells.
Therefore, adenosine is the chemical that tells your body to sleep. The more adenosine means the more tired you feel. Your body releases adenosine when your body breaks down the energy molecule, ATP.
When you sleep the concentration of adenosine declines therefore you feel more awake. Adenosine regulates sleep and is needed specifically in order to sleep in a consistent and normal manner.
When we first wake up we feel groggy and less cognitive. This process of slowly becoming more awake is known as sleep inertia. As the day progresses our bodies create more adenosine when we use up energy therefore making us more tired. That’s why people reach for their early cup of joe to jump-start their day.
The caffeine in your coffee is actually very structurally similar to adenosine. When you drink coffee the caffeine works its way to your bloodstream and then into the brain competing with adenosine. The caffeine binds to the receptors in your brain, blocking the adenosine. Because it’s not adenosine the sleepiness effect isn’t felt.
Unfortunately, this result is temporary due to caffeine’s half life of about 6 hours. After 6 hours of drinking a cup of Biohazard Coffee (464 mg), there will only by 232 mg left in your system. This leaves more adenosine to come back and make you feel tired again.
Unfortunately, this result is temporary due to caffeine’s half life of about 6 hours.
Your brain responds to the long-term use of caffeine by creating more adenosine receptors, which means more caffeine is required to get the same response as before. This is why when you try to quit drinking coffee or you skip your morning coffee you might experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms, resulting in you feeling more tired.
Caffeine also stimulates the production of adrenaline and affects dopamine levels in the brain which leads you to feeling more happy.
Besides feeling happy, coffee can make you feel more alert, increase your ability to concentrate, improves your memory, and gives you the ability to think more clearly. Studies suggest that caffeine can improve reaction time and general cognitive function.
(Click here to learn more about the health benefits of coffee).
While caffeine consumption can have several health benefits, at the end of the day it is still a delicious drink to start your day with. So enjoy that morning cup of coffee caffeine addicts!
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