The alarm clock goes off, after a nice stretch you head straight towards the kitchen for your morning cup of glory: coffee.
The problem is: your timing is all wrong.
Taking your coffee first thing in the morning is counterproductive, why?
So what’s going on?
It all has to do with Cortisol.
Cortisol, “the stress hormone”, is a key component for our day-long hormonal cycle known as the Circadian Clock. This internal clock helps us wake up in the morning and get sleepy in the night time.
When the body releases cortisol, we feel awake. However, caffeine interferes with the production of cortisol in the body by decreasing production over time. In turn, making the body more reliant on caffeine.
Drinking coffee while cortisol levels are high leads to the development of long-term tolerance, which is why habitual drinkers find caffeine less effective.
Essentially, caffeine replaces our natural cortisol boost rather than supplement it.
Cortisol levels rise 3X a day: early in the morning, mid-day, and in the evening. The highest peak time is between 6AM to 10AM but this may vary depending on your wake up time. For optimal effect, it is best to drink between these peak hours.
Ideally, the best times to drink coffee: 10AM to 12PM and 2PM to 5PM. During these times is when coffee is most needed and will not interfere with cortisol production.
This wonderful ASAP Science video explains it all:
Quick Coffee Q&A:
HELP! I’m drinking regular coffee but it feels like decaf!?
You’ve developed a tolerance to caffeine my friend — nice work! This means your consistent consumption has decreased cortisol production levels in your body throughout the day. So it will take a lot more cups to equate to how one cup used to make you feel before this caffeine habit became excessive.
Yikes! I canNOT fully wake up in the morning without caffeine in my bloodstream. Why is that?!
CONGRATS! You have successfully modified your circadian rhythm to depend on a caffeine boost to reach full wakefulness. Be careful since, as stated above, tolerance can ensue.
I’m an introvert and coffee really doesn’t seem to help me be productive. How come?
Introverts should avoid coffee before important meetings or stimulating situations since extroverts and introverts differ in their neocortical arousal levels in the brain. This affects how alert or responsive we are to our environment. Introverts are over the optimal level, meaning they are more easily stimulated, than extroverts, who are under the optimal level and therefore are less easily stimulated. Performance is compromised if introverts are exposed to stimulating situations or if they ingest a stimulant which pushes them further away from their optimal level. So my lovely introverts, it is best to ingest it later on in the day.
I wake up either super early (like myself) or super late, what is the best time to drink coffee based on my wake up time?
Since cortisol levels increase by 50% after you wake up regardless of the time, science has found that it is best to wake at least an hour before your first cup of Joe for optimal effect. **For an accurate calculation as to when you should consume coffee based on your wake up time, use this handy tool**
In other news, which I am super excited about, I’ve been slacking a bit on here but it is with good reason. About a month ago I applied to be apart of Neil Patel’s team as a Research Assistant for a new book that will be coauthored by Patrick Vlaskovits and Jonas Koffler.
I just got notice last night that I got it!
So in celebration, everyone rejoice with me over a nice cup of Jo but please make mine Irish with whipped cream on top. Of course, whether coffee or otherwise, do drink responsibly.