What is the best time to drink coffee?

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Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world with roughly 400 billion cups of coffee consumed every year.

Many coffee lovers cant get through the morning without first drinking their daily dose of caffeine. Others prefer to wait until they get to the office before popping the kettle on, giving their body some time to adjust to the new day.

But before we discuss the best time of day to drink coffee, you might be wondering, is it healthy to drink coffee every day? The short answer is yes. Having a cup of coffee or two per day presents some significant health benefits:

  • Lowers the drinkers’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (Just avoid adding lots of sugar to your beverage if you drink several cups a day)
  • Reduces the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease as well as helps control movement in Parkinson’s patients, according to the Research Institute of McGill University’s Health Centre
  • Lowers the risks of liver cancer and colorectal cancer.
  • Lowers the risk of developing cirrhosis and other liver diseases.
  • Helps to stimulate weight loss by breaking down fat which can be converted into fuel. Drinking a cup of coffee about half an hour before heading to the gym will allow you to burn off this fat and will give you a rush of adrenaline.
  • Improves brain function, workplace happiness, and mood, and in some cases lowers the likelihood of developing depression.
  • It provides the body with nutrients and essential antioxidants that protect cells and boost overall health.

To find out more about the health benefits of coffee consumption check out our blog: The health benefits of drinking coffee

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So, when is the best time to drink your coffee?

Everyone is different, not only in what they prefer but also in what works for their body and natural ‘body clock’. One thing we all have in common, however, is that we are all driven by a hormone known as Cortisol which determines when we are awake and alert. This hormone is regulated by our natural ‘body clock’, our circadian clock.

Cortisol is also known as the ‘Stress Hormone’ as it is triggered when our body senses danger. To help our body function we need to maintain a stable level of Cortisol in our system.

When you wake up feeling tired and groggy it’s likely that your cortisol levels are low. Having a cup of coffee in the morning helps stabilize your cortisol levels and fuels your body up making you more alert.

Drinking coffee when your cortisol levels are high can be damaging and unhealthy.

So the best time to drink coffee isn’t necessarily a specific time of day, it varies according to your internal body clock and is best drank when your Cortisol levels are low.

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How to tell if your cortisol levels are low?

Let’s use an example to help understand the best time to drink coffee. Looking at a person who wakes up at 6.30am each morning, the Cortisol will peak between the following times:

8am – 9am

Noon – 1pm

5.30pm – 6.30pm

Here is a timetable that will show when, on average, is the best time to drink coffee in accordance with your low cortisol levels.

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Wake up timeCoffee TimeCortisol TimeCoffee TimeCortisol TimeSleep Time
6- 9am9.30-11.30Noon-1pm1.30-5pm5.30-6.30pm9pm

Your first cup of coffee in the morning should be 3 hours after you wake up and in roughly 3-hour intervals thereafter.

So, instead of grabbing your morning coffee when you wake up or when dashing out of the house on your way to work, try waiting until you get to the office and get settled at your desk before putting the kettle on. If you are at home try reading the newspaper or responding to your emails before pouring your initial morning brew.

Drinking coffee at the right times, and knowing how much you should drink are equally important in maximizing the health benefits of coffee. It is recommended that you have a couple of cups of coffee every day reap the rewards of being a coffee lover.

Remember to avoid drinking coffee late at night. You don’t want to be up all night drinking coffee when your cortisol levels are higher. Your last cup of Joe for the day should be consumed at least 6 hours before you go to sleep. Both sleep deprivation, as well as coffee dependency, can lead to health problems so monitor your intake.

Final Takeaway

In short, drink your coffee late in the morning and in the afternoon when your body needs it most and reap the health benefits of the delicious coffee bean.

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About the author

Coffee addict and self confessed obsessive with all things Java, Dave loves to write about coffee nearly as much as he enjoys drinking it. Can always be found no more than 2 feet away from a fresh brew!

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