The Best Time to Drink Coffee

How many of us drink coffee as soon as we wake up?  I am guessing that a great deal do, including myself, but is that the best time to consume coffee?

From a scientific standpoint there is an optimum time to drink caffeinated beverages and get the most pick-me-up benefits and it all has to do with chronopharmacology.

Chronopharmacology is the study of how medications and drugs interact with your biology.  Therefore when looking at coffee, the main piece of biology to consider is your body's level of cortisol.

Steve Miller, a neuroscientist and Ph.D. candidate studying with Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, explained that the more cortisol is in your body, the more naturally alert you are.  The more alert you are, the less effective coffee is going to be.  Thus, you should not consume caffeine when your cortisol levels are high, which peak between 8 and 9 am.  Cortisol levels also peak between noon and 1 pm, and between 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

"Drug tolerance is an important subject, especially in the case of caffeine since most of us overuse this drug," Miller wrote.  "Therefore, if we are drinking caffeine at a time when your cortisol concentration in the blood is at its peak, you probably should not be drinking it."

The most effective time to drink coffee is between 9:30 am and 11:30 am, after cortisol levels drop, but before another increase comes between noon and 1 pm.

According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, the precise optimal time to drink coffee is at 2:16 pm.  This was not based on cortisol levels, but instead a survey of when workers feel the most tired.

Will you change up your morning routine now?