The average American coffee drinker enjoys just over three cups of java a day, which means that I’m a certifiable coffee addict by comparison.
I usually start my day with a large coffee from my favorite shop, then make one or two more during the workday.
I pour myself another mug when I settle in for Jeopardy, then maybe one more before bed – just to settle in for the night.
Obviously drinking that much coffee is not healthy, but research reveals when you drink your morning joe is as important as how much you drink.
Don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning
A high tech study by the United States Army claims to have zeroed in on the best time to drink coffee.
Researchers used a special computer algorithm to pinpoint when your morning coffee would give you the biggest boost of wakefulness.
The army’s eggheads say you can get 64% more alertness from your coffee by using their method, or drink 64% less coffee and feel just as alert.
While the actual study is not out yet, experts have already agreed that drinking coffee as soon as you wake up is a bad idea.
Your morning dose of stress hormones
Your body has a complicated and highly specific routine to wake you up each morning.
As the sun rises, it sends a burst of cortisol through your system. This helpful hormone gives us an energy boost that makes us feel alert and awake.
But drinking coffee at this time will make the caffeine and cortisol mingle.
The coffee actually interferes with the cortisol’s benefits, giving you the stereotypical coffee jitters and hyperactivity.
Then, when the caffeine and cortisol leave your system at the same time midmorning, you experience a more intense crash and feel exhausted.
Repeating this routine every morning trains your body to dump out more and more cortisol, which is basically a stress hormone.
You’ll also develop a dependency on coffee more quickly, since your body depends on the caffeine to wake itself up.
The right time for a coffee break
It sounds tough, but experts say you should delay your first cup of the black stuff for a few hours after waking up.
Enjoy a cup (or two) between 9:30 A.M. and 11:30.
Then head back to the pot for a cup in the midafternoon, say between 1:30 P.M. and 5:00.
These will give you a helpful rush of energy that works in harmony with your body’s daily cycle.
Bear in mind, everyone’s sleep schedule is different. But most people get a daily cortisol rush between 8:00 A.M. and 9:00, so that’s a no-go time for coffee.
Being mindful of how much coffee you drink will also reduce the burnout and jitters of overindulging.
Try to keep to just three cups a day, drink a glass of water with every cup, and switch to healthier options like decaf and black tea if you can.
Has this information convinced you to delay your morning coffee? I definitely won’t, but then again I’m totally hooked!
Are you a serious coffee drinker?