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When is the Best Time to Drink Coffee?

Coffee is a widely appreciated drink all over the world and has an important economic impact in countries like Brazil. Many people consider drinking coffee a pleasure, other people drink it because they need an energy boost to feel stimulated during the day. Coffee as a stimulating effect due to its content in caffeine that acts as an adenosine antagonist.

Some people have more than one coffee a day, most of them have created the habit of having more than one energy boost during the day since they feel like having coffee is one of the way to get productive. Other people choose to only have one since they believe that having coffee past one specific hour they won’t be able to sleep.

The coffee marketing industry is trying to convince us that we should have coffee as soon as we wake up and several times during the day to make sure we have all the necessary energy to perform our daily activities.

But do we know when is the best time to drink coffee? Or the exact number of coffees we should take to improve our productivity without compromising our health?

We want to end with all your doubts, so in this article we present you scientific evidence about the effects coffee can have in our organism depending on the time it is took.

1. The Coffee Boost

Many people like to start their day with a good cup of coffee since they feel the energy boost effect that caffeine has. Drinking a cup of coffee everyday may lead to an increasing tolerance you have to caffeine. Of course, everybody is different, but the sure that scientists have is that everyone is guided by a 24-hour hormonal cycle – the circadian cycle (circadian cycle/rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals). This cycle is mostly regulated by the sun.

During the day your body releases a hormone called cortisol, this hormone is responsible for making us feel awake and alert to our surroundings. In normal circumstances, the peak production of cortisol happens between 8 and 9 am. At this time most people is having their first coffee, when the body is naturally more alert and awake. Researchers found that consuming caffeine during this peak there is a reduction on the effectiveness of the extra stimulation, also, if you are having an extra caffeine when you don’t need it, you’ll develop a faster tolerance, having progressively a smaller boost every time you have coffee.

2. Cortisol – One of Your Biggest Enemies

Aside being responsible for alertness and attention, cortisol is also known for being a stress related hormone. Since having an extra consumption of caffeine increases the production of cortisol and even leads to peaks during the day. When you have an increasing tolerance to caffeine that can lead to heightened cortisol levels, this will disturb your normal circadian rhythms and result in terrible effects on your health.

3. When Should I Have A Coffee To Avoid Disrupting My Circadian Rhythm?

For avoiding health problems and getting the most of having your daily dose of caffeine you should keep on track of your circadian rhythm. Usually, the peak of cortisol levels are at 8 to 9 am, 12 to 1 pm and 5:30 to 6:30 pm, so according to this data you should try to time your “coffee breaks” according to this. So, you should try to have your coffee between 9h30 to 11h30 and 1h30 to 5h, this way you are taking advantage of the dips on the cortisol levels into your bloodstream.

Now, this theory brings a whole new sense to the “coffee break” expression, we are used to have a coffee in the morning due to the pressure and marketing that coffee industry has been trying to install to lead us all to drink more coffee.

4. How Many Coffees Should I Take Every Day?

Another important question to put out is the quantity of coffee that one should have every day. The truth is that it depends on the time you get up! Early risers (people whom wake up before 8 am) probably need to (or usually) have about 3 coffees a day, which can be too much for most people. Usually, early risers have lower cortisol levels compared to people whom wake up when the sum has already rise, although there is a specific phenomenon called Cortisol Awakening Response (also known as CAR) in which there is an instant increase of cortisol in about 50% as soon as people awake. This leads us to the theory that some individuals need caffeine in their bodies as soon as they wake up and that probably they are waking up many hours before peaking their cortisol levels. In these cases, a caffeine dose can be determinant to become more vigilant and alert.

So, some people may not need coffee as soon as they wake up since CAR can be increasing their cortisol levels, but this same people would still probably need to have a coffee about one hour or so later.

5. Should I Stop Drinking Coffee? Or Should I Adapt My Everyday Habits?

When you have a coffee right after waking up can make you feel jittery and excessively alert! The problem is that a few hours later you may feel an energy crush, being very tired after a few couple hours. According to the theories explained above, you should limit the intake of coffee as soon as you wake up to avoid an excessive increase on your body cortisol levels.

Therefore, we recommend you trying to understand your circadian rhythm and with it try to adapt the best time to have your coffee and the number of coffees you should or must take. Also, you should try to sleep better to avoid excessive tiredness during the day and reduce your need to increase the intake of caffeine.

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Message from Sophia!

I would love to hear from you and read your comments on this article. Let me know what you think about this article. Is it helpful to you? Your comments and suggestions will serve as an inspiration and learning platform for me.
Regards, Sophia
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