Without your morning coffee, your days just would never start right? Coffee is the be all, start all … after all isn’t it!
Er, wrong, apparently. We’re sure this goes against everything you’ve ever believed in, for as long as you’ve lived. Drinking coffee between the hours of 8 and 9am does not work — at least not as effectively as you might think.
There are two types of people in the world – early-morning coffee drinkers, who fire up some kind of brewing apparatus as soon as they get out of bed, and mid-morning coffee drinkers, who get their first hit a bit later. And depending on which type you are, the caffeine may have a greater or lesser effect on how you feel.
Here’s the deal: Drinking coffee between the hours of 8 and 9 in the morning is a waste of effort considering the natural effect of cortisol on our bodies.
What is cortisol? Chemically speaking, cortisol is a steroid hormone that is naturally released in our bodies during the morning hours. Essentially, cortisol is like natural caffeine.
Prompted by our internal clocks, our bodies naturally produce cortisol at peak levels between 8am and 9am on a daily basis which makes us feel more alert and awake. Our body clocks run on a 24-hour rhythm, which provokes the release of certain chemicals and hormones at different points in the day.
Our body clock, otherwise known as the Circadian Clock is part of the reason why we’re hungry at certain points of our day, and sleepy at others.
What does this mean for you? Well, like with all things, there are ebbs and flows to our circadian clocks and our cortisol levels. While the one-hour period between 8 and 9am gives us the maximum release of cortisol, the hour or so afterwards is marked by a dip in cortisol.
So, after that initial burst of energy in the morning, you might find yourself feeling a bit sluggish around 10am. It’s not because your coffee is “wearing off”; rather, it’s because your cortisol levels are down.
The best way to combat this is by drinking your coffee AFTER the initial surge of cortisol between 8 and 9am.
Let your body naturally energise itself using the release of cortisol, during the early morning. Instead, opt for a cup of coffee between 9:30-11:30am. This way, you can alternate between natural and caffeine-based methods of waking yourself up.
Your body will once again experience a boost from cortisol around lunchtime, or noon. If you attempt to provide yourself with a midday pick-me-up from 12-1 pm, it’s likely that your efforts aren’t as efficient as you once thought.
That way you will stay even more alert for the later part of your day. It’s all about timing!
What time do you drink your first coffee of the day?