Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It contains a very popular stimulant called caffeine. Many people grab a cup of this caffeinated beverage immediately after getting up, while others find it more beneficial to wait a few hours. This article explains when is the best time to drink coffee to maximize its benefits and minimize its side effects.

Many people enjoy a cup…or three, of coffee upon rising or shortly thereafter. However, drinking coffee too soon after getting up is thought to diminish its energizing effects, as the stress hormone cortisol is at its peak at this time. Cortisol is a hormone that can improve alertness and concentration. It also regulates your metabolism, immune system response, and blood pressure. The hormone follows a rhythm unique to your sleep-wake cycle, with high levels peaking 30 to 45 minutes after getting up and slowly declining throughout the rest of the day.

The best time to drink coffee

That said, it has been suggested that the best time to drink coffee is mid to late morning when your cortisol levels are lower. For most people who get up around 6:30 a.m., that time is between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Another reason it has been suggested that you should delay your morning coffee is that the caffeine in coffee can raise cortisol levels. Drinking coffee when cortisol levels are at their highest can further increase cortisol levels. High cortisol levels over long periods of time can weaken your immune system and cause health problems. Additionally, caffeine-induced increases in cortisol tend to be reduced in people who consume it regularly.

That said, it’s probably safe if you prefer to drink coffee when you get up rather than several hours later. But if you’re ready to change up your morning coffee ritual, you may find that delaying your coffee drinking for a few hours can give you more energy.

Coffee can improve exercise performance: but when to drink it?

Coffee is known for its ability to promote wakefulness and increase alertness, but this beverage is also an effective athletic performance booster due to its caffeine content. Plus, coffee can be a much more economical alternative to caffeinated supplements, like pre-workout powders. Several studies have shown that caffeine can delay exercise fatigue and improve muscle strength and power. Although there is no significant difference between having your coffee first thing in the morning or several hours later, the effects of coffee caffeine on exercise performance are time-dependent.

If you’re looking to maximize the beneficial effects of coffee on athletic performance, it’s best to consume the drink 30-60 minutes before a workout or sporting event. This is the time it takes for caffeine levels to peak in your body.

The effective dose of caffeine to improve exercise performance is 3-6 mg per kg of body weight. For a 68 kg person, this is equivalent to approximately 200-400 mg of caffeine, or 2-4 cups (475-950 ml) of coffee.

The worst time to drink coffee

The caffeine in coffee can promote wakefulness and boost athletic performance, but it can also cause sleep problems and anxiety in some people.

The stimulating caffeine effects of coffee last 3-5 hours, and depending on individual differences, about half of the total caffeine you consume remains in your body after 5 hours. Consuming coffee too close to bedtime, such as with dinner, can cause sleep problems.

To avoid the disruptive effects of caffeine on sleep, it is recommended to avoid consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.

In addition to sleep problems, caffeine can increase anxiety in some people. If you suffer from anxiety, drinking coffee may make it worse. In this case, you may need to consume less or avoid this drink altogether. You can also try switching to green tea, which contains a third of the caffeine found in coffee.
This drink also provides the amino acid L-theanine, which has relaxing and calming properties.

How much coffee is safe?

Healthy people can consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day, the equivalent of about 4 cups (950 ml) of coffee.

The recommendation for pregnant and breastfeeding women is 300 mg of caffeine per day, with some research suggesting the safe upper limit is 200 mg per day. These recommendations for safe caffeine consumption include caffeine from all sources. Other common sources of caffeine are tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and even dark chocolate.

In summary

Coffee is a popular drink enjoyed around the world. It has been suggested that the best time to drink coffee is mid to late morning when cortisol levels are lower. Consuming coffee 30-60 minutes before a workout or sporting event can help delay fatigue and increase muscle strength and power. Keep in mind that the caffeine-boosting effects of coffee can cause sleep problems if consumed too close to bedtime, as well as increase anxiety in some people.


Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels

The Effect of Acute Caffeine Ingestion on Endurance Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance

Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed

The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.