Most people like to start their day with a cup of coffee. But recent studies have suggested that drinking coffee first thing in the morning could be less effective in waking you up than previously thought.
It might sound crazy, but the science behind this recent finding is relatively simple. When we first wake up in the morning a hormone called cortisol is released. This hormone is commonly referred to as the stress hormone, because it often appears when we are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. Cortisol is also naturally released in our bodies about three times a day and helps us get up and keep moving. The ‘first thing in the morning coffee’ that many people have become accustomed to, interferes with the bodies production of cortisol. When we drink coffee between 8am and 9am, the body starts to rely on the caffeine rather than the cortisol and therefore the body will release less of it.
As the caffeine takes over the role of cortisol, people often mistakenly believe they have built up an immunity to coffee. Actually, what has happened is that the body is producing less cortisol and is relying on the caffeine instead, which is less effective.
If the thought of relinquishing your morning cappuccino has got you depressed, there is some good news. There are good times to drink coffee. The cortisol in our bodies is released three times a day; between 8 and 9 in the morning, 12 and 1 in the afternoon, and in the evening around 5 and 6. Therefore around 10:30 in the morning and after 1:30 in the afternoon is usually the most effective time to drink coffee without interrupting the release of cortisol.
The occasional caffeinated treat in the morning is unlikely to do too much damage. But for those who believe they have become dependent on their morning triple espresso, it may be worth trying to go without for a while. You’ll find your body thanks you for it.