Does it feel like that cup of coffee doesn't get you as far into the day as it used to? Or does it feel like that afternoon coffee doesn't wake you back up so well anymore? The thing is, coffee can help increase energy, as well as focus and productivity, but only if you do a periodic caffeine reset.
The Science: The neurotransmitter adenosine builds up throughout the day and it makes you feel sleepy. Leftover adenosine is still in the brain when you wake up, making it tough for you to get going in the morning. But caffeine blocks adenosine from binding to receptors in the brain. If it can’t bind to the receptors, you feel alert and awake.
The problem is that it doesn’t work indefinitely. The body will eventually recognize that adenosine isn’t binding, so it creates more receptors. Research from the National Library of Medicine shows that after only three days of consistent caffeine intake, the number of receptors significantly increases.
But research also shows that taking a seven-day break from caffeine can reverse that. It reduces your tolerance and increases the boost you feel when you start drinking coffee again. Some experts say you should take a week off from coffee to get the receptors going again... but if that sounds as harsh to you as it does to me, maybe try stepping down the number of caffeinated drinks slowly (one less per day for 3 days, then another less for 3 more days) and coming to a complete reset.