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Need for an energy boost? When is the best time for coffee

Don’t talk to me before I had my coffee! For many, the sleepy trip to the coffee machine in is an integral part of the morning routine. Whether it lifts your spirits, you find the aroma of ground beans irresistible or you are unresponsive without coffee in the first place: when is the perfect time to enjoy coffee, scientifically speaking?

Written by Ana K., Dec 15, 2021

Effects on the cortisol level

According to a study by Steven Miller, the ideal time for the first caffeine kick is not directly after getting up. Early in the morning, especially after a relaxing round of extended sleep, the level of the stress hormone cortisol is particularly high. This is a natural process in our body that helps us to get up and get our metabolism going.

So if you drink your first cup of coffee right after getting up, you increase your cortisol level even more. This can lead to nervousness and tension. At the same time, because of the natural process of cortisol production, your body does not need another caffeine kick. In the long run, it leads to a habituation effect. The natural production of cortisol is then not enough to really get going. In turn, you then have the feeling that you are dependent on coffee to get out of bed.

The ideal time for a coffee kick

At this point it should be said: the golden hour of coffee enjoyment does not exist. The best time for the first cup may be 7.30 a.m. for early risers and noon for others. The rule of thumb is to wait 1 to 1.5 hours after getting up before drinking coffee. Of course, your cortisol level is also subject to fluctuations. Factors such as your temporary stress level, changing working hours and sleep play an important role.

A study by the University of Sheffield also shows that cortisol levels are particularly high at the following three times of the day: between 8 and 9 am, between 12 and 1 pm at lunchtime, and between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. Consequently, coffee is not necessary at least before 8 a.m., as the cortisol level rises for the first time until then to reach its peak.

Good news for coffee junkies at this point: the more accustomed the body is to coffee, the lower the effects on cortisol levels.

If you are rethinking your habits and still don't want to do without that fragrant pick-me-up in the morning, a Coffee-To-Go mug could be the solution for you. With the keep-warm function, your coffee not only stays warm but also fresh and you don't have to do without anything. This also saves you money and time. In addition, you avoid plastic waste and protect the environment.

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Coffee in the evening

So in the afternoon, the next cortisol high is between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. What does this mean for the last coffee, you may be asking? According to Dr. Ajay Sampat, assistant professor at UC Davis Health in California, you should always drink it several hours before bedtime. This is especially true if you struggle with sleep. That means no more coffee in the afternoon! However, if sleep problems are not an issue for you and you have enough energy during the day, there is no reason why you shouldn't have a cup of coffee in the afternoon. 

Tip for the afternoon slump: If you have the opportunity, you can combine your caffeine kick directly with a power nap. Drink the coffee and then take a nap for 10-20 minutes. During this time, the caffeine enters your bloodstream. This means that it takes effect immediately after you are awake again.

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