Energy drinks are unique drinks that contain caffeine, sugars, nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids, and herbal extracts. Different energy brands have different proprietary recipes. These drinks provide an extra energy burst when you need it the most such as during a long work shift.
According to an estimate by the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, energy drinks are the second most popular dietary supplement after multivitamins. Men between the ages of 18-34 are the highest consumers of these drinks and 33% of teens between 12 and 17 years drink them regularly. (source)
Generally, energy drinks last 6 to 8 hours in your body, but there are many factors that affect the time span. For example, the amount of caffeine and sugar content in the energy drink and your body’s ability to metabolize the caffeine. Let’s discuss this in detail.
How long do energy drinks last in your body?
The half-life of an energy drink is about 5 – 6 hours, which means that the effects of caffeine will reduce by half within the first 5 hours. It takes another 5 hours for the effects to completely disappear. While this is a ball-park figure, how long an average energy drink lasts in our body depends on various factors such as:
The caffeine content in the drink:
Different brands and drinks have different levels of caffeine and sugars as mentioned below. The higher the caffeine and sugar content, the longer the effects of the drink last in your body.
|Energy Drink Brand||Caffeine content||Sugar content|
|Redbull (8.4 oz)0||80mg||24 gm|
|Monster (16 0z)||160mg||27 gm|
|AMP (16 oz)||142 mg||58 gm|
|5 Hour Energy (1.93 oz)||200mg||Nil|
Height and weight of consumer:
Taller people with a heavier build take less time to metabolize the caffeine content than thinner shorter people. By this principle, shorter thinner builds retain the effects longer than people with taller and/or bulkier builds.
People having higher metabolism process caffeine quickly. This means that if you have higher metabolism rates, your body absorbs and breaks up the caffeine quickly. The caffeine will have a shorter half-life, and the effects of the energy beverage are short-lived.
If you have a slower metabolism, you will experience the kick for longer. This is the reason some people seem to enjoy the stimulating effects longer than others.
Certain genes may also influence the retention and metabolism of the energy drinks in your body, influencing the final outcome of how long energy drinks stay in your system.
For example, a gene coded as CYP1A2 is responsible for the clearance of caffeine from the system. This gene has large variabilities depending on several factors such as gender, race, and genetic polymorphisms.
The presence and variability of this gene can dictate how much caffeine you tend to consume, the effect of caffeine on your system and how long it takes to clear from your body.
What you eat and when you eat also plays a major role in the absorption and metabolism of energy drinks. Drinking these beverages on an empty stomach can cause you to experience stronger side effects.
On the other hand, proper spacing between meals allows you to experience the full effects of caffeine without withdrawals and sugar crashes.
The caffeine content in energy drinks acts as a diuretic and forces you to take more trips to the restroom causing you to experience signs of dehydration such as headache.
Staying hydrated ensures that you don’t experience dehydration associated with energy drinks. Drinking enough water also ensures that you do not experience significant dehydration when you are drinking more amounts of these beverages.
Timeline of an energy drink in your body
The first set of effects you will experience include a gradual increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
The effects of the beverage peak within 15-45 minutes after consumption, the time taken for caffeine levels to peak. You will feel more alert and your concentration levels also rise.
30 Minutes – 1 Hour:
Within an hour, your body absorbs all the caffeine and sugar as well.
At the 1 hour timeline, the levels of caffeine, as well as sugar, die down. This is when you will start experiencing a sugar crash
The half-life of energy drinks is about 6 hours. At the 6th hour mark, you will find that the effects have reduced to about half of what you experience in the first 30 minutes of consuming the beverage.
It takes a total of 12 hours (ballpark figure) for the remaining effects of the energy drink to leave your system completely. At the 12 hour mark, caffeine leaves your bloodstream completely.
If you consume energy drinks or large amounts of caffeine regularly, you will experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms during this time frame.
|Time Interval||Effect Type||Signs|
|10 Minutes||Initial effects||
Increase in heart rate
Increase in blood pressure
|15-45 Minutes||Peak effects||
Increase in alertness
Improvement in concentration
|30 Minutes – 1 Hour||Total absorption of sugar and caffeine into the blood||
Full effects from the energy drink
|1 Hour||Sugar Crash||
Low energy levels
|5-6 Hours||Energy drink half-life||
Halving of the effects from the energy drink
|12 Hours||Traces of energy drinks leave your body completely||
More effects from the beverage
|12-24 hours||Caffeine withdrawal||Headache
How long do energy drinks last before you crash?
When talking about energy drink crashes- we must touch upon two aspects
- Sugar crash
- Caffeine withdrawal
Sugar crashes happen within an hour of your energy drink consumption. Caffeine withdrawal can happen after about 12 hours.
Common symptoms of energy drinks or caffeine withdrawal include:
We must admit though, these are rough numbers and can depend on a host of factors as we discussed above.
How to prevent energy drink crashes?
We list out a few handy tips to help you ensure that you do not experience energy drink crashes.
- Space out the consumption of your energy drink. Do not down the can all at once. Slow and steady is the mantra. Take small sips through a 2-hour period to avoid crashing.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration helps supply the necessary electrolytes and ensures that your body slowly absorbs the contents of the energy drink.
- Eat small meals or snacks as you consume the beverage. This will help you avoid sugar crashes and will help your body metabolize the caffeine content in a regulated manner.
- Ensure a good supply of carbs, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables with your meal. A balanced diet with electrolyte foods helps prevent energy drinks crashes.
- If possible, try to avoid energy drinks that contain excess sugar. Opt for zero-sugar and low-carb brands. These are good for you.
- Try to look for energy drink brands that contain added electrolytes and glycogen instead of sugar.
With these tips, you can be sure of experiencing the beneficial effects of the energy drink for a longer time frame and avoiding energy drinks crashes.
Energy drinks are a popular instant energy source for students, shift workers, employees, and athletes to name a few. These drinks, due to the presence of caffeine and sugars, can be good or bad for you.
The effects and affects of energy drinks depend on how long energy drinks last in your system.
So, how long do energy drinks last? They usually last for about 5 to 6 hours in your body since the half-life of caffeine is about 6 hours. After the 6 hour mark, you will continue to experience mild effects for another 6 hours.
In total, energy drinks will need about 12 hours to leave the bloodstream completely.