The first thing in the morning, most people automatically wake up and make a pot of coffee. If you're lucky you have an automatic coffee pot that will make the coffee for you while you're sleeping. Unfortunately, morning coffee (especially early morning coffee), can be one of the worst things you can do to help yourself wake up.
Why is early morning coffee bad for you?
Your body has a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that your body goes through. This cycle triggers all kinds of reactions on the cellular level in the body. Things like hormone release, hunger response, and sleep cycle are all regulated by this natural rhythm of the body.
Your Biological Clock and Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone released three times a day by your body's biological clock (circadian rhythm). This hormone is typically associated with stress but cortisol has many other functions in the body.
Cortisol is typically responsible for increasing the body's access to glucose. Glucose is the source of energy in the blood stream. This is why you wake up faster in the morning. The more access you have to quick energy the easier your body can respond and your brain can adapt to being awake.
So Why No Coffee?
It may seem weird to tell you not to have morning coffee. But new evidence shows that with the release of cortisol into the bloodstream in the morning coffee isn't going to be able to give you the boost you need from the caffeine. Cortisol levels rise an average of 35 to 50% higher 20 to 30 minutes after you wake up. This effect gives you easy access to the increased levels of glucose making you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Coffee and Cortisol Don't Mix
Another reason not to drink your morning coffee right when you wake up is because of the reaction that cortisol and caffeine have with one another. The high levels of cortisol in your bloodstream can actually reduce the effects of caffeine by up to 50%. Not having a boost from the caffeine means you're essentially wasting all of that hot delicious black gold in your cup.
When Should You Drink Your Coffee?
Just like the natural rise and cortisol levels in the morning, cortisol dips at regular intervals during the day. If you were to naturally wake up at 7 AM the best time for you to consume your morning coffee would be around 10 AM this will give you the most bang for your buck when consuming caffeine. After you eat lunch your cortisol levels are going to start dipping around 2 PM. That afternoon slump that most people feel is not fake. An afternoon coffee break is definitely something most people are going to see a benefit from.
The commercials are right and the 2:00 pm slump is all your body's fault.
What if I just Like Coffee?
Having your morning cup of coffee is a strong part of a morning ritual for most people. Waiting an hour to an hour and a half for that cup of coffee may not be something you want to do. Despite the fact that your caffeine from your cup of coffee isn't going to affect your ability to wake up you can probably still enjoy that cup of coffee. Just understand that the caffeine contained in your coffee is going to have less of an effect than if you had waited an hour to have your morning cup of coffee.
If you're drinking coffee at 7 AM right after you wake up it's best to avoid highly caffeinated kinds like "Black Insomnia Coffee", which boasts having the highest caffeine amount of any coffee on the planet. You would just be wasting the caffeine in the coffee and possibly your money too.
Don't worry if you absolutely can't wait to drink your coffee. It isn't going to hurt you any, but you aren't going to be as perky you would have been if you waited.
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