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Why Do Energy Drinks Make Me Tired? (Revealed)

According to research, more than 80 percent of Americans take caffeinated beverages in a day mainly coffee, energy drinks, and tea. It comes as no surprise that college students are the most common caffeine consumers as they have a ton of tasks at hand which they want to get done by staying awake and mindful

Before I get into more detail, let’s get to our question first.

What causes you to feel tired after drinking energy drinks?

Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine, which may be the primary reason for your tiredness. As caffeine works differently for everyone, some people experience positive effects while others see the opposite. 

For instance, 80 milligrams of caffeine in Red Bull may work for your friend. However, when you take an energy drink containing the same amount of caffeine, it might cause you to feel sleepy and tired instead of giving alertness.

If you’re curious about the exact reason for your tiredness, keep on reading. This article also intends to provide you with information regarding what goes into an energy drink. 

Let’s explore…

What is an Energy Drink?

what is an energy drink?
An energy drink must contain caffeine. In some cases, there is more than one stimulant.

If you’ve never taken an energy drink or don’t know what exactly is an energy drink. Here’s all you need to know.

Energy drink comprises stimulants such as caffeine and taurine. In some cases, there are vitamins, amino acids, and electrolytes. You’ll also see different doses of sugar and carbs that can further fuel your energy.

Since caffeine is considered the primary energy source, no drink is an energy drink without caffeine. Most individuals take energy drinks before going to the gym or other physical or mental activities. 

The number of cans of energy drinks you should have entirely depends on your tolerance. In my perspective, you should never go beyond one serving a day to keep things in moderation. 

Main Ingredients of Energy Drinks

The most common ingredients are caffeine, amino acids, and vitamins, however.

Here’s a list of all possible ingredients of an energy drink;

  • Caffeine
  • Carbohydrates
  • Taurine
  • Guarana
  • Ginseng
  • Electrolytes
  • Essential amino acids
  • Non-essential amino acids
  • B Vitamins
  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners

And the list goes on. Therefore, I’d recommend checking the label of energy drinks before adding them to your diet. In most cases, people don’t even know what they’re pouring into their stomachs. 

Sometimes they are allergic to specific ingredients. If that is the case, one should never take drinks with those ingredients. Additionally, people under 18, nursing mothers, and pregnant women should always avoid energy drinks just to be on the safe side.

Which Ingredients Cause you to Feel Tired?

I’ve picked up those ingredients that can possibly make you feel tired and sleepy. 

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Carbs
  • Taurine

It’s not necessarily caffeine that always messes up your sleep. Sometimes, it’s sugar or taurine rather than caffeine that drains your energy. Let’s study these ones by one in detail to know more about the causes of why energy drink backfires sometimes.

Can Caffeine make you tired?

The reason why caffeine makes you tired is that some individuals are intolerant to it.

If you have ever taken an energy drink hoping for an instant boost but rather ended up feeling sleepy or tired, caffeine could be to blame. No doubt caffeine’s stimulant effects are helpful to some individuals during a hectic day. 

But in some cases, it does precisely the opposite. It makes some people more tired and makes them go to bed instead of providing them with stimulation.

There can be a few reasons of why this happens;

  • You might already be tired when you take caffeine.
  • You might have taken a larger dose than your tolerance.
  • You might have taken caffeine right before sleeping time.
  • You’re too young to take caffeinated drinks.
  • You’re not habitual to taking energy drinks.

If you don’t know the safe caffeine intake, FDA recommends not exceeding 400mg per day. You should only take this amount of caffeine if you’re physically fit.

Watch this video to know more about caffeine

How Sugar and Carbs Make You Tired?

Sugar added to energy drinks may make you feel tired if caffeine is not the cause.

Energy beverages containing large doses of sugar and carbs may give midnight or evening energy slumps. Nowadays, some energy drink manufacturers infuse large doses of sugar into their products without considering their negative outcomes. 

Even research shows that taking snacks with sugar may drain energy and cause tiredness after 1 hour of consumption as it deregulates the chemical Orexin in your brain which acts upon your sleep and wake cycle. You can say, after caffeine, sugar is the second prime reason for tension and tiredness effects.

Therefore, I’d recommend monitoring sugar levels in the energy drinks you’re taking. Additionally, you should avoid other sugary foods when consuming energy drinks.

Taurine and Sleep

calm sleep
Yes, taurine makes you calm and sleepy.

On one hand, caffeine disrupts your sleep cycle and makes you tired and on another hand, taurine is an amino acid in energy drinks that enhances sleep timing. This research demonstrates that taurine, at a particular rate, makes you sleepy. 

As you probably know, individuals take energy drinks to enhance their concentration in order to get a few things done. When there’s a large amount of taurine in drinks, they fail to live up to their claims.

No matter how much you try to focus and concentrate, energy drinks with high taurine doses will increase your sleep. When you go against your body functions, you’ll ultimately feel exhausted and tired.

Best Time To Take Energy Drinks

What’s the best time to take energy drinks?

Time is another factor that you need to consider to keep yourself from getting tired. The effects of energy drinks kick in after 15 minutes of consumption and last for 3 to 8 hours.

Caffeine in energy drinks keeps you awake unless its effects wear off. So, if you take energy drinks in the morning, caffeine won’t interact with your sleep as the effects must have worn off by the time you go to bed. 

When you consume caffeine at those times of the day when you’re already fatigued, you’re more likely to experience symptoms like nausea and sleep problems.

The amount of caffeine intake also has a negative association with your sleep quality. Caffeine, for instance, lowers the quality of your sleep if you take a large dose. Therefore, think wisely before taking energy drinks in the evening.

ADHD and Energy Drinks

Energy drinks work differently for those with ADHD

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) is a health condition with very little ability to focus your attention on a set task and an inability to sit still. ADHD people react differently to caffeinated drinks. It’s been found that people with this condition consume more caffeine than those without ADHD.

It’s worth noting that individuals with ADHD most likely take caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Those with this condition take caffeinated beverages as a medication to gain focus and concentration. 

This is what further leads them to sleeplessness. I’d like to add that these are the findings from research conducted on adolescents. Although caffeine is beneficial for some ADHD patients, it might cause fatigue and tiredness for others.  

Who Should Avoid Energy Drinks?

When it comes to energy drinks, you need to be extra careful if you’re on some type of medication. Your age really matters if you’re going to add energy drinks to your diet. 

Those under 18 don’t need to rely on any external energy source. Meaning, they shouldn’t take energy beverages because they already have plenty of energy. And taking energy drinks will cause them more harm than good like headaches.

Another factor is your health as energy drinks are not for you if you’re not tolerant to caffeine. Also, if you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s not recommended to take energy drinks.

Why Do Energy Drinks Make You Tired And Sleepy?

If energy drinks make you tired or sleepy, there could be more than a single reason. So, let’s have a look at different possible causes;

  • You’re taking more caffeine than you can tolerate.
  • In stressful situations, taking energy drinks can lead to fatigue.
  • A higher taurine dose induces sleepy effects.
  • Energy beverages containing sugar and carbs may drain your energy after 1 hour of consumption.
  • You might have ADHD but you are not aware of your condition. 
  • Your age isn’t suitable for taking energy beverages.

The link to the studies has already been provided.

As long as you can relate to at least one of the above scenarios, you should either avoid energy drinks completely or find one that suits your needs. The most common cause why energy drinks make you feel tired would be large doses of caffeine and sugar. 

So, it’s better to find drinks with low caffeine and no sugar.

Energy Drinks With Low Sugar and Caffeine

Here’s a list of energy drinks with low caffeine and no sugar content;

Energy Drinks Caffeine ContentSugar
Xtend Carbonated125mg0g
Runa Clean Energy150mg2g
Bang 0mg0g
Guru sparkling water100mg0g
Monster zero sugar140mg0g
Table is showing a list of energy drinks with low caffeine

It is a good idea to try these drinks to see which one doesn’t make you feel tired and sleepy. You should choose a natural energy source such as green tea if you still feel stressed after drinking energy beverages with low caffeine. 


Finding an energy drink that doesn’t leave you feeling drained or sleepy isn’t impossible but hard it is. Therefore, you need to check the sugar and caffeine amounts of drinks first.

Even if a small amount of caffeine makes you tired, you’re too sensitive to consume energy drinks. In this scenario, it’s better to steer clear of energy drinks but if that’s not the case go ahead and grab a can of your favorite energy drink. 

A high amount of sugar in energy drinks can also result in an energy crash. I’d recommend sticking to one can of energy beverage to keep everything going well. 

If you’ve passed both the factors and still feel sleepy, there must be taurine in the beverage. In the presence of more taurine than caffeine, you will experience a very calm feeling and will want to go to sleep. 

In a nutshell, all this is a matter of a little research and then trial and error. Check ingredients of a few energy drinks and then give them a go till you find one which suits your palette and energy requirements.

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