Many people do not feel as if they are really awake until they have had their first coffee of the day. It needs to be consumed before they can start thinking straight.
Although cravings can occur this early in the morning, it is not really a good time to drink coffee. Not only that, it is actually one of the worst times of the day that you should be drinking coffee.
The neuroscientist Steven L. Miller published this information on his blog a few years ago.
Although stating that you shouldn't drink coffee in the morning is an unpopular thing to say, it is all backed up by science. There has been more research which was carried out after this which backed up Miller's findings.
Finding out this information often leads people to think about the other times during the day that they drink coffee, and whether this is something else they need to change.
This blog post will take at a look at drinking coffee throughout the whole day, and investigate when are the best and worst times to consume caffeine.
We will start with taking a closer look at why Steven Miller found it is not a good idea to drink coffee in the morning.
Coffee Shouldn't Be Consumed Early In The Morning
Steven Miller is based at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. A lot of his research is based around how the natural rhythm of your body can be disrupted by drugs.
We all have a biological clock which controls our circadian rhythm. It is the environment that you find yourself in which has the biggest influence on your circadian rhythm. This is why you feel awake in the daytime and sleepy at night.
Many other things are controlled by your circadian rhythm such as your sleep cycle, your appetite and even the production of hormones.
When you first wake up your body produces cortisol. This is the hormone that also gets released when you are stressed and it causes a jump in adrenaline. It is released early in the morning as it helps to wake you up and make you more alert.
Cortisol is boosted in your body naturally throughout the day. There is a noticeable peak between 8am and 9am. Even if you do not feel particularly alert at this time you do not actually need a caffeine boost.
If you do drink coffee at this time, the caffeine is not used by your body but you can start to develop a tolerance to it.
You will develop a little amount of tolerance to caffeine every time that you have a drink of coffee. If you are drinking between 8am and 9am, then you will becoming more tolerant but you will not be getting much of a boost.
If you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, you are better waiting until after 9am as it will give you more of a boost.
What If You Wake Before 8am?
Even if you are awake before sunrise, you will still get a boost of cortisol as soon as you have woken up. You could have a coffee before 8am, and it would give you a small boost. However, this boost could not be described as efficient.
Cortisol Peaks In The Afternoon
Even though the highest peak of cortisol in the body appears between 8am and 9am, this is not the only time of day that it happens.
There are also peaks which occur between midday and 1pm, and again between 5:30pm and 6:30pm.
If you drink coffee between these times, then it may not give you as much of a boost as you were expecting. It will be building up tolerance without much reward.
When Are The Best Times Of The Day To Drink Coffee?
It is clear then that the best times of the day to drink coffee is when the body is not already receiving a natural cortisol boost.
However, you do not want to let this natural boost get too low before it gets another one from the caffeine. Therefore, the best time to have a drink of coffee is just after the cortisol boost.
This means that coffee is best enjoyed between 9am and 11:30am in the mornings and between 1pm and 5pm in the afternoon.
You could also have another cup after 6:30 but having coffee in the evening can affect how well you sleep.
Should I Drink Coffee In The Evening?
There has been a lot of scientific study into how too much caffeine can affect your sleep.
Almost all of these studies have reached the conclusion that your sleep will be negatively affected if you drink coffee during the evening. This is because it affects the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that is released because of your circadian rhythm when it is time to go to sleep.
The one thing that cannot always be agreed on is how late the last coffee of the day should be.
Thinking of the best times to drink coffee that have been discussed above, around 5pm should be the latest that you have your final coffee of the day.
If you plan the times that you drink your coffee carefully, then you should find that it gives you a boost just when you need it.