The first thing most coffee lovers and caffeine freaks do when they wake up in the morning is to reach for a cup of their favourite coffee. It perks people up and gives you the caffeine boost that many of us feel we need in order to get started and motivated to travel to work, and to be productive when we get there.
It turns out however, that the morning might not be the best time of day for us to drink coffee, and might actually be counter productive! Bad news for many of us. So, why could coffee be a bad thing for us to consumer first thing in the morning? And what can us coffee junkies do to rectify this huge problem?!
Coffee a Restriction on Cortisol
The results of a study conducted by Steven Miller, a Ph.D. candidate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, USA, has found that those people who drink coffee between the hours of 8am and 9am each morning did not experience the boost from caffeine that we have come to expect as a given. This is down to the natural level of cortisol in our bodies.
Cortisol is a hormone that helps us to naturally feel awake and alert and is produced as part of the body’s internal body clock (or circadian clock), which is in charge of regulating our sleep cycles and initiates hormones and chemicals being released at certain parts of the day to ensure we are awake and ready for sleep when necessary for the benefit of our health.
Sipping on a cup of coffee at these times in the morning won’t give us that boost we’re looking for, as our body is already producing cortisol to help us with that aspect of our wake up pattern. Add to that it may actually have a negative impact on your circadian clock, as caffeine may actually increase levels of cortisol production. What happens to many of us is that the first cup of coffee we consume doesn’t seem to quite hit the mark and not long after we’ll crave another. This is down to cortisol levels starting to naturally dip.
How to Cope with the News
Having an understanding of your natural body clock and the times of day when a boost of caffeine might actually be helpful to keep you awake and productive would help ease this situation. Cortisol is produced by the body at certain times of the day, so for instance, in most people levels will be lower after this initial morning burst for a couple of hours, meaning that you might want to reach for a cup of coffee just before midday. Alternatively wait until 1.30pm to 5pm when levels are lower and a cup of coffee might help you get through the final hours of the working day.
If you are desperate for that coffee fix in the morning, why not try decaf coffee as a way to get the hit, without the caffeine that might be disturbing your natural body clock.