Why Do Energy Drinks Make Me Tired?

April, 17, 2023

Why Do Energy Drinks Make Me Tired?

It’s not uncommon to grab an energy drink when you’re feeling tired and sluggish but have a ton of things to do. While energy drinks are often marketed as a quick fix to combat fatigue and improve concentration, ironically, they can actually make you feel more tired in the long run. Energy drinks might make you tired because of the excess caffeine and sugar. 

How do energy drinks work?

Energy drinks are designed to provide a quick energy boost, decrease fatigue, and increase focus. They typically contain a combination of ingredients that work together to produce these effects. Some of the ingredients often included in energy drinks include: 


Caffeine works by blocking the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for promoting sleep and suppressing arousal. When adenosine is blocked, the levels of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, increase, which can lead to increased alertness, focus, and energy. (1)


Many energy drinks also contain high levels of sugar which provide a quick source of energy. When sugar is consumed, it is quickly broken down into glucose, which is used by the body for energy. However, this energy boost is often short-lived and can lead to a sugar crash, which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.

Some energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners, which do not provide any calories or energy. 

B vitamins

B vitamins are important for energy metabolism, and many energy drinks contain high levels of B vitamins, particularly B6 and B12. These vitamins are involved in the production of energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and can help to improve energy levels.


Taurine is an amino acid that is also added to many energy drinks. It is thought to help regulate the levels of calcium in cells, which can improve muscle function and reduce fatigue.


Guarana is a plant extract that contains caffeine, as well as other compounds that can enhance the effects of caffeine and improve energy levels. (2)

Energy drinks work by combining ingredients that are designed to increase alertness, focus, and energy levels.

Why energy drinks make you tired

You may be wondering why you feel tired after drinking a caffeine-filled beverage that’s supposed to give you more energy. Here are some reasons why energy drinks might make you feel tired:

Caffeine crashes

Most energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, which can give you a temporary energy boost by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. However, caffeine can also cause a crash once its effects wear off. This can leave you feeling even more tired and sluggish than before you consumed the energy drink. (3)

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, caffeine can also disrupt your sleep when consumed in excess or too close to bedtime, which can make you feel tired the next day. (4)

Sugar crashes

Many energy drinks also contain high levels of sugar, which can cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels followed by a crash. When your blood sugar levels drop, your body may feel fatigued and sluggish.

Rapid spikes in blood sugar lower orexin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes us feel energized and alert. The reduction in orexin can make you feel exhausted even after consuming caffeine. (5)


Energy drinks often contain diuretics, which can cause dehydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and a lack of focus, all of which can make you feel more tired.

Adrenal fatigue

Caffeine temporarily blocks your adenosine receptors. Adenosine is continuously building in your system while you’re awake. When the caffeine from your energy drink wears off, you can again feel the effects of the adenosine built up in your system.

Studies indicate that people who regularly consume caffeine have an increased number of adenosine receptors, meaning they might be more sensitive to the chemical and it may make them feel more fatigued. (6)

How to prevent the crash

Energy drinks can lead to a crash or a sudden drop in energy levels once their effects wear off. Here are some tips on how to prevent crashing after consuming an energy drink:

Drink water

Energy drinks can cause dehydration, which can contribute to a crash. Drinking water before, during, and after consuming an energy drink can help prevent dehydration and decrease fatigue. 

Eat a balanced meal

Consuming a balanced meal that includes protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent sudden crashes in energy. 

Limit consumption

Limiting the consumption of energy drinks to one can or less per day can help prevent a crash.

Consider alternative sources of energy

There are many natural ways to improve your energy levels, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. You may also consider other more natural sources of caffeine like green tea

Ethan’s Clean Energy Shot

Try Ethan’s Clean Energy Shot for a better way to boost energy. With 150 mg of plant-based caffeine, bioavailable B-Vitamins️, and adaptogens, Ethan’s provides a clean and balanced energy boost without the excess sugar

What separates Ethan's Clean Energy from other energy drinks on the market is its unique proprietary blend of natural caffeine derived from real plants, which increases focus without the jitters.


While energy drinks can provide a quick boost of energy, consuming them too often can lead to a crash in energy levels or disrupted sleep patterns, which can make you feel tired. Try natural ways to improve your energy levels, like exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. You may also consider other more natural sources of caffeine like Ethan’s Clean Energy Shot. 


Energy drinks often include high sugar content and other stimulating ingredients like taurine, which can lead to an energy crash and fatigue.

Authored By

Kristen Carli

Kristen Carli is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. She graduated from University of Arizona with a BA in psychology and then received a BS in dietetics from Arizona State University. After completion of the dietetic internship, she continued her education by receiving a MS in Human Nutrition from University of Western States. Having a passion for nutrition communication, she writes for many food and nutrition outlets as well as regularly develops recipes for food brands and media companies. Her nutrition expertise has been featured in InStyle, Bustle, Livestrong, The List, MyFitnessPal and many others. Additionally, Kristen is often featured via local TV segments sharing nutrition tips and tricks. She was selected to act as a Produce for Better Health Foundation Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador in Action, helping to promote the health benefits and importance of consuming fruits and vegetables, as well as a FoodMinds upwaRD winner for 2022, honoring up and coming media dietitians. You can find her reading, running, and exploring new restaurants with her husband and baby boy.

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