For a lot of people, the morning simply doesn’t make any sense without that first cup of coffee. Caffeine is by far one of the most popular substances that are regularly enjoyed by Americans year-round. Whether it is taken in the form of a cup of black coffee, a caffeine patch, a sugary latte, or an energy drink, caffeine is what helps many people wake up, face their day, and have energy. With that being said, while there is a lot of merit to regularity and rhythm and the benefit of that ‘cup of coffee’ is real - you may be wondering how good caffeine is for you.
If you have been rethinking some of your daily routines and want to know more about the benefits of caffeine and if it’s good or bad - here is everything you need to know!
Does Caffeine Really Give You Energy?
Let's start off with the first question that seems obvious, but has a surprising answer - does caffeine actually give you energy? According to most of pop-culture and the way that people talk about their cup of jo - the answer seems like an obvious yes! Cartoon depictions of characters seemly getting supercharged off of a few sips of coffee appear to be the major evidence that of course, anything with caffeine will boost energy.
The real answer isn’t as cut and dry. Caffeine itself is a compound that interacts with a set of receptors in the brain that are designed to accept a chemical called adenosine. Adenosine plays a very important role in a person’s sleep and wake cycles. During the day, adenosine can build up, and then when that person is ready to fall asleep, it interacts with these specific receptors to induce feelings of rest, relaxation, and general ‘winding down’. What caffeine does, is it acts as a direct inhibitor of this pathway because it can also attach itself to the same receptors.
When caffeine is attached to an adenosine receptor, it blocks this pathway by inhibiting adenosine from being able to attach. In this way, we see that caffeine is less about actually giving people energy - and more about staving off feelings of being tired or sleepy.
Does This Actually Work?
So here’s the deal - if caffeine itself doesn’t actually give you energy, does it really work? The answer is yes. While you may not be exactly ‘getting’ energy from that cup of coffee, what it does is it helps to promote your brain to be more alert and can help you feel more focused. By inhibiting your brain's natural rest and relaxation pathways, you can stay alert and focused for longer and this is one of the main benefits of drinking caffeine.
Not only is it the case that caffeine helps people stay alert and awake, but it also helps people build normal rhythms which are important. For many, their coffee or green or black tea in the morning is a staple part of waking up and this is important. Having regularity and rhythm can be a powerful tool for productivity and a sense of accomplishment.
What Are Ways of Getting Energy Tho?
Okay, so we’ve covered that while caffeine itself isn’t necessarily giving you energy but it is important and plays a meaningful role in helping people feel alert and focused, how can you actually get the energy you need? It’s one thing to fight off feeling sleepy, which is important and can often be very useful, but what about getting more energy?
That’s where knowing how to supplement your caffeine intake with things like Vitamin B12, or even healthy amounts of sugar can come into play. Something like a caffeine patch can actually give you the caffeine you need to block your sleepy time pathways, but also provide you with safe, healthy energy from other sources. Combining the effectiveness of caffeine with Vitamin B12, a natural and healthy source of energy, you can get a combo that helps you stay awake while also giving you energy.
Another way to get natural energy from your coffee routine is to add cream and sugar. Yes, you want to be careful because overly sugary drinks will lead to a crash - but in moderate amounts, this can be a source of energy. Sugar is one of the body’s main sources of fuel, and if you are feeling a little more tired than usual, add a small amount to your next cup of coffee.
So, is caffeine good or bad when it comes to helping you feel alert and focused? Well, the answer is obviously that it isn’t bad. Yes, like anything you can get too much if you don’t practice self-control, and this can have longer-lasting effects on you that can impact your sleep in negative ways; however, caffeine is a great way to help you stay alert and combined with something like Vitamin B12, it can be an awesome source of energy.