Sometimes I wonder how humans existed without coffee. Early humans did so much more than we do — the hunting, the gathering, the inventing fire and — stuff. I can't garner the strength to put pants on without a cup of strong coffee seeping into my bloodstream — so what do you do when coffee stops working for you?
The most distinguished part of my adult existence that differs from my childhood experience is that I cannot function without coffee. Sometimes, I'll try to trick myself into doing work under the fiction that I will get a cup of coffee just after I finish one task. Then I'll push it back and back and see how much work I can get done. This elaborate plan to avoid coffee usually only lasts five minutes before I'm at the machine, filling my mug with life force. Because who am I kidding? I can't do anything without coffee at this point in my life. Even on vacation when I don't need to use too much of my brain for problem solving or being a functioning member of society, I find myself rationalizing why I need coffee. To swim — what if I drown without it?! To read — how will I focus without it?! To eat — can my body even digest food without it?!
Yes, I'm an addict. Just like you, and you, and you, and you, and your little dog, too. (Srsly hope not, coffee is no bueno for doggies!) But if you're also like me, you've recently realized that you're having to have a second or third cup of coffee now to get that same feeling that you used to get with just one cup. Is coffee getting weaker? Or is your tolerance getting stronger? According to our friend science, these are four reasons your coffee isn't cutting it anymore:
You've Hit Your Healthy Limit
There is such thing as too much coffee. If you need more than a cup or two of strong coffee to get that buzz, your tolerance might be too high. You shouldn't need coffee just to feel normal, coffee should help you to feel more energized than normal. It should give you a buzz. If you're just barely yourself with a cup of sturdy Joe, you might need to put yourself on a tolerance reset. In order to do this, you'll have to completely purge caffeine from your life for at least two weeks, at which point you should be able to feel its effects again.
You're Not Sleeping Enough
Despite the fact that it's easy to think that coffee has magical powers, when you're sleep deprived, it's as good as useless. There's only so much work it can do on its end. So if you've had more than three nights of bad sleep, don't even bother with the coffee — it's not going to help. Scientists say that no matter how much coffee you guzzle, at that point, the best thing you can do to feel rested is (gasp) sleep.
You're Getting Too Much Caffeine Elsewhere
According to Dr. Sharon Kreiger MD at Caremount Medical in New York, lots of sports and energy drink have hidden amounts of caffeine in them. Some drinks don't even advertise the fact that they're loaded with it and you'd never notice it if you didn't spend some time studying the ingredients. Check the back of all of the drinks you regularly consume, you might be unintentionally increasing your tolerance with drinks other than coffee. Save that caffeine tolerance for your coffee!
Your Medications Are Increasing Your Tolerance
If you were on a stimulant like Wellbutrin or Adderall, you might have trouble feeling the effect of coffee as the activation is much less intense in comparison. If this is the case, Dr. Kreiger suggests adding more energy fueling foods like proteins and complex carbs into your diet to help close the gap.
Enjoy your coffee breaks, everyone — but remember, you can have too much of a good (great, excellent, amazing) thing!