Does Coffee Give You Energy? Benefits & Drawbacks Explained

A cup of coffee for energy

What exactly is that buzz you sometimes get from coffee? Does it translate to actual energy? Here we uncover the benefits and drawbacks to coffee.

Coffee is so popular the world over—it’s nearly a $500 billion industry.

Such is the power of this rich and bitter drink that more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee (1) are consumed across the globe daily as people get their fix.

It unites millions of us as a daily ritual, but our reasons for using it may differ. 

Some just love the taste. Others love the taste and the burst of energy they get from it. For some, it’s a cultural must-drink—a day without coffee is simply impossible to imagine.

Here, we’ll delve into the world of coffee, exploring caffeine and its relationship with energy. 

We’ll examine its benefits and drawbacks and give you the full lowdown on that post-coffee buzz.

Does coffee give you energy?

It isn’t coffee in and of its own that provides short bursts of energy but instead, the caffeine inside it.

How does caffeine work? 

Well, it’s a natural stimulant that belongs to a class of compounds called xanthines (2). When consumed, caffeine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can affect the body in lots of different ways. 

It acts as a central nervous system stimulant (3), blocking adenosine receptors in the brain and promoting wakefulness and alertness

Caffeine provides a boost of energy (4) by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters(5) in the brain, similar to the way adrenaline functions.

And when neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine are released into the body, they can have an effect on mood regulation and attention.

This stimulation sends messages to the rest of the body and gives a flood of those familiar feelings of alertness.  

But what gives you energy? 

When blood concentrations of caffeine peak, you often experience a characteristic buzz of energy (6). 

This occurs because caffeine blocks specific receptors in the brain that regulate critical functions like sleep, arousal, cognition, memory, and learning.

The result? As these receptors are inhibited, caffeine can make you feel more energised.  

So, does caffeine give you more energy? Yes, but only short term and over time, the body starts to build up a tolerance.

Also, it’s important to note that coffee doesn’t give you energy— it’s the caffeine.

How long does the coffee buzz last?

Get ready for some interesting facts about the ‘energy’ coffee creates.

SmartFacts...

On average, the duration of a coffee buzz (7) is between three to five hours.

The duration of the buzz really depends on the sensitivity of the individual, the amount they drank and, of course, the type of coffee consumed.

Caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours, which is why they say not to drink it too close to bedtime.

Factors that affect the strength of the coffee buzz are things like body weight, tolerance and metabolism.

If you put sugar or creamer in your coffee, it can also impact your energy levels and how long the buzz lasts.

If you put a lot of sugar in your coffee, you may experience a sudden increase in blood sugar levels. And what goes up must come down— so expect a crash after.


How quickly does caffeine work?

Caffeine gets to work pretty quickly. 

The levels of caffeine in the bloodstream typically peak within 15 to 45 minutes (8) after consumption.

During this time, you are most likely to experience the initial effects of caffeine (9), including increased alertness and energy.

Woman drinking coffee
Select an Image

The benefits of drinking coffee for energy

Let’s cover the benefits of caffeine with some quick-fire facts.

Drinking coffee can…

  • Increase alertness and reduce tiredness.
  • Improve focus and concentration.
  • Boost endurance and performance during physical activities by releasing adrenaline. This leads the body to kickstart its fat-burning processes. 
  • Enhance mood by releasing dopamine and serotonin.
  • Work as a natural antioxidant (10) that protects against cell damage caused by free radicals.
  • Increase metabolism temporarily.
  • Potentially protect against Parkinson's disease, liver disease, and some cancers.
  • Improve mental performance by enhancing memory (11), attention, and problem-solving skills.
  • Boost the central nervous system, providing a short-lived boost.

The drawbacks of coffee for energy

Let’s consider the negative aspects of drinking coffee.

Excessive amounts

While drinking a moderate amount of coffee is OK, drinking excessive amounts (more than 400mg a day) can bring on some unwanted side effects like a high heart rate, digestive problems, restlessness, and anxiety. 

Dependency and tolerance

Regular consumption of coffee for energy can lead to caffeine dependence and tolerance. Over time, your body may become less sensitive to the effects of caffeine, so you need more to get that energy boost. 

A cycle of dependency is not what you want for your body or mind.

Disrupted sleep

Coffee is known to interfere with sleep patterns (12), especially when you have some close to bedtime. The stimulating effects of caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep or experience quality sleep.

The result? Feeling fatigued and sleepy during the day.

Dehydration

Did you know that coffee has a diuretic effect? That means it increases urine production, and frequent trips to the toilet without sufficient hydration can lead to dehydration. 

Sensitivity

While some people may tolerate coffee well, others may be more sensitive to its effects and experience side effects even after having a small amount.

Healthy man jogging outside
Select an Image

Natural ways to boost energy

Let’s talk about more ways to boost energy that don’t rely on consuming caffeine.

Hydration

We’ve heard it so many times before, but drinking water is not only important for your health—it’s also an easy way to increase your energy levels naturally.

To stay hydrated in a day, it’s recommended to drink 6 to 8 cups (13) or glasses of fluid, which is approximately 1.2 to 1.6 litres.

It’s also a great way to combat tiredness throughout the day. 

Exercise

Again, no surprises here, but if you engage in exercise regularly, you can increase blood flow and release endorphins which gives a surge of energy and provides an awesome natural boost. 

Healthy Diet

You probably already know that consuming a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can bring more sustained energy throughout the day. 

By avoiding all the usual sugary foods or processed products, you can help to prevent energy crashes throughout the day.

B Vitamins

A lesser known fact, but making sure you’ve got good levels of B vitamins, such as B12 and B6 means ensuring your metabolism and energy levels are on point.

Get topped up with foods rich in these, like fish, eggs, meat, and leafy greens.

Power Naps

Taking short power naps of around 20 minutes can help refresh the mind and increase alertness. Make sure to set an alarm and don’t oversleep, as you’ll feel groggy when you wake—and it may disrupt your sleep later.

Caffeine intake: final thoughts

When it comes to coffee and caffeine, it’s all about moderation

Coffee can give you a short burst of energy and clarity but don’t always rely on it to bring the buzz. 

It’s got a tonne of benefits that keep on giving but don’t forget that overindulging can lead to some unpleasant side effects.

There are also plenty of other ways to get natural energy.

When you prioritise a healthy lifestyle, your morning cups of coffee become a tasty ritual rather than your sole source of energy. It’s all about balance.

Smart Protein supplements for energy

At Smart Protein, we believe that nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. Life is busy, and supplements need to be tasty as well as simple. 

We’ve teamed up with expert nutritionists and personal trainers to bring you premium products geared towards hitting your fitness and wellness goals.

For a natural energy boost, we’ve got the The Energy Boost Kit which brings recharging electrolytes, invigorating greens, and nootropics for mental energy. 

It’s an easy and yummy way to energise yourself with all the goodness to get you going.

We’re here to help you be the best you.

Sources

Smart Protein is committed to sourcing only the best and scientifically-backed research in our articles.

1. Drive Research

https://www.driveresearch.com/market-research-company-blog/coffee-survey/

2. Harvard School of Public Health

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/caffeine/

3. Study From The National Library of Medicine

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34150383/

4. Mind Body Green

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/does-caffeine-actually-give-us-energy

5. Study From The National Library of Medicine

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20164566/

6. Tufts Now

https://now.tufts.edu/2022/09/08/how-does-caffeine-give-us-energy

7. Chef Radar

https://chefradar.com/what-is-the-average-duration-of-a-coffee-buzz/

8. Medical News Today

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321784

9. Healthline

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-caffeine-last

10. Healthline

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coffee-worlds-biggest-source-of-antioxidants

11. Study From The National Library of Medicine

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462044/

12. US News

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/caffeine-and-its-health-effects

13. National Health Service

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/3. Study From The National Library of Medicine

Back to blog

Let’s get Smarter together!

Ready to level up your goals? Join our supportive community today for exclusive product news, expert advice and epic rewards