When’s the Ideal Time to Drink Coffee?

How to make the most of a cup of joe.


Drinking coffee later in the morning is more beneficial.

(Ivan Kruk / Shutterstock.com)

For coffee lovers, nothing is better than that first cup in the morning. From inhaling the aroma of the brewing beans to savoring that first cup, drinking coffee is a big part of people’s morning routine and gets them ready to start their day.

Besides the taste, people drink coffee in the am because it contains the stimulant caffeine. This can make you more alert, energetic, and help you concentrate better. But drinking coffee too early could actually end up decreasing the positive effects of caffeine according to The Greatest.

That’s because cortisol – the stress hormone – levels are highest 30 to 45 minutes after you wake up and then decrease throughout the day. Caffeine can increase the hormone’s levels and increase the harmful effects of cortisol that include an increase in blood pressure and could actually impair your immune system.

So, when is the ideal time to drink your first cup of joe? According to Healthline, the best time to maximize the benefits of coffee which include better brain function, and a host of other health benefits, is late morning or three to four hours after waking up.

For many people who commute, that would mean skipping coffee at home, in the car, or in the train and having your first cup when you get to the office. If you are willing to change your morning routine, the energizing feeling you get from coffee can last longer into the day.

Coffee in the afternoon? No problem. You can have a cup of coffee to help keep those creative juices flowing even when your body is telling you to cat nap.

But coffee in the evening is another story. If you want to unwind after work and get a good night’s sleep, coffee can do just the opposite. That’s because the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (ASSAM) cautions people to stay away from caffeine for six  hours before bedtime because it blocks adenosine, the hormone that makes you sleepy.

To avoid tossing and turning or counting sheep all night, drink decaf or try some herbal tea instead. Changing the time you drink that steaming hot cup of coffee can maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of the world’s favorite beverage.

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