The Best Times of Day to Drink Coffee


Some of us might make a cup of coffee as soon as we wake up; however, research has shown that that may not be the most optimal time of day to drink it! The reason is that our bodies are regulated on a 24-hour hormonal cycle, known as the circadian clock. One major factor in this regulation is sunlight, but another is a hormone called cortisol which helps us feel awake and alert.

The peak production of cortisol is usually between 8-9 AM, which is when our bodies are “naturally caffeinating.” The addition of caffeine at this time actually diminishes caffeine’s effects and helps to build a tolerance when we don’t need it. Other peak times for cortisol production in most people are 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm, but of course this doesn’t take into account early risers or other factors.

So, based on most people, the optimal times for coffee consumption where you’ll get the most bang for your buck are at non-peak cortisol times, or 9:30-11:30 am and 1:30-5 pm!  This is based on research gathered by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences at Bethesda.


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