Coffee is the go-to beverage for many folks first thing in the morning. It helps them wake up and clears cobwebs from their sleepy brains. Is the first thing really the best time of the day, though? When might other good times be?
Mid-to-Late Morning May Be the Ideal Time
Turns out that right after you wake up may not be the perfect time to drink coffee. Some research suggests that if you roll out of bed about 6:30 a.m., the best time for you to drink coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
That is because of the possible interplay with the stress hormone cortisol. If you drink coffee at, say, 10 a.m., your cortisol levels are lower then and your coffee gives you more energy. On the other hand, if you drink right when you wake up, the coffee may ratchet up your cortisol production and unnecessarily stress you. In reality, there is likely not much effect (if any) in people who have developed caffeine and coffee tolerances.
The Best Time Is What Works for You Mentally
Whether you drink black coffee, mushroom coffee, decaf, flat white, or any of the many varieties, the best time is most likely what has worked for you all along. If that is right after you wake up, then that is great. There’s much to be said about routines, the power of predictability, and enjoying a jolt of one of your favorite tastes so early in the day.
Similarly, if you like to wait until noon to have your coffee, that is wonderful since it works for you. The studies on cortisol and coffee are limited. They do suggest you’ll have more energy if you drink coffee a few hours after you wake, but maximum energy is not the only reason people drink coffee. They just need a bit of an amp-up so they can get moving and start their day off on the right foot.
Tolerance is a key aspect to consider. If you are new to drinking coffee and/or have a low caffeine tolerance, you could find that you become jittery soon after you drink.
The effects vary per person, so keep that in mind as you experiment with drinking coffee and the best times of the day for it. If you’re in a situation where you should absolutely not be tense and you’re a coffee newbie who still gets jittery, wait until a better time to drink it.
Even Nighttime Works Well for Some People
If you fancy a cup of coffee at night, you may be in for a sleepless night. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Drinking coffee as many as six hours before bed can make your sleep less restful or keep you awake into the wee hours of the morning.
Of course, people have different caffeine tolerances. Caffeine even makes some people sleepy and has seemingly no effect on others.
If your caffeine tolerance is high, then you might be able to enjoy nighttime coffee just fine and sleep wonderfully. If you struggle with sleep issues, though, then cutting out coffee and other types of caffeine a few hours before bed might help immensely.
In sum, if you prefer to drink coffee at night and it doesn’t seem to have any ill effects, keep doing it if you want. It seems to work great for you!
It’s Typically Fine To Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach or before Exercising
Studies indicate that drinking coffee 30 to 60 minutes before you exercise gives you the best performance. The caffeine in the coffee can make you more alert and enhance your performance, and coffee is usually cheaper than sports drinks and powders.
Consuming coffee on an empty stomach such as right after you wake up is not a problem, either. Coffee may boost the production of stomach acid but usually to no practical effect.
Studies do not show a link between coffee and digestive issues in most people. That said, there is a small subset of folks especially susceptible to heartburn, indigestion, and similar issues when they drink coffee. They experience these side effects whether they drink their coffee on an empty stomach or not, though.
Do take note of how your body responds to coffee. Every person is unique. If your body reacts well to coffee when you consume it on a full stomach but not when your stomach is empty, adapt accordingly.
A great number of people enjoy their first cup of coffee within minutes of waking up. It helps jump-start their energy and is an essential part of their routine. If that is what works for you, stick with that. Otherwise, try waiting a few hours after you wake up and see if you get extra energy by drinking your coffee then.