If the first thought you have in the morning is, "I need coffee asap." then you are not alone. However, one should resist the urge to brew right away. Here is why:
Your body produces high levels of cortisol early in the morning. Consuming caffeine during peak cortisol levels creates a few problems:
Caffeine disrupts the cortisol production
Cortisol production is decreased and caffeine dependence is increased
Disrupts your circadian rhythm
Why is cortisol important?
It is a hormone that is released in response to stress and low blood glucose. It is designed to "naturally caffeinate" our bodies per se. Cortisol is strongly related to your level of alertness and peaks a few times throughout the day.
The caffeine does not enhance our natural, cortisol boost we receive in the morning, it replaces it. This makes the coffee quite ineffective first thing in the morning.
What is a circadian rhythm?
It is one of the most important biological rhythms. It is an endogenous 24-hour clock that affects one's physiology and behaviors. The circadian rhythm can also alter properties of drugs and drug tolerance.
So when is the best time to consume coffee?
A rule of thumb is at least an hour after waking.
The optimal timing of your coffee intake to experience maximum enjoyment with minimal negative effects are found in the infographic below: (assuming you rise at 6 a.m. and rest at 9 p.m.)
Timing your "coffee breaks" between 9:30-11:30 and 1:30 and 5:00 takes advantage of the dips in your cortisol levels when you need a boost the most.
Don't worry, we are not saying get rid of your beloved cup of coffee. Just wait. Good things come to those who wait, right? Good health and who knows...probably better self discipline too.