Caffeine can be a great tool when utilized responsibly. Yet so many of us are gulping down our morning coffee, only to find ourselves still yawning before we even make it to lunch.
Believe it or not, things don’t have to be this way. It takes a little bit of patience, but if you do it right, you can get so much more out of your caffeine consumption.
Here are some tips for timing out your coffee, energy bars, and other caffeine products so you’re healthily staying energized and alert throughout your day.
The Morning Coffee Myth?
Thanks to a recent study, we know that caffeine dosage and timing are crucial when it comes to maximizing energy and alertness. If you drink your coffee first thing in the morning, you might be doing it all wrong.
When we first wake up in the morning, many of us have high levels of cortisol in our system. It is believed that the morning coffee (or dose of caffeine) might interfere with that natural cortisol production instead of adding to it. This would explain why we eventually need more to achieve the same effects over time.
This extra burst of cortisol along with your morning caffeine can also make you jittery or hyper (more than an afternoon coffee would) and cause a crash earlier in the day.
When is the Best Time for a Caffeine Boost?
If not first thing in the morning, when is the best time to have our coffee (cup, bar, or otherwise)?
Scientists, dietitians, and the US Military are all weighing in on this topic but as a general rule are recommending to drink or eat your caffeine at least 2-3 hours after you wake up instead of first thing in the morning. This might sound like a struggle, but the idea is that it will work in tandem with your body’s natural changes in cortisol. In the long run, you might be glad you waited.
This will vary, depending on your situation, schedule, and lifestyle. If you work a night-shift or experience hormone fluctuations, it’s important to factor in those variables. As always, pay attention to your body, staying alert for any signals it might be sending you through unwanted side effects.
When to Stop Drinking Coffee and Other Caffeine Products
Part of staying energized throughout the day (and not needing as much coffee first thing in the morning) is getting consistent, quality sleep. This means timing your caffeine so you’re not having a difficult time falling asleep when it’s time to wind down for the day.
Caffeine has a half life of 5 hours. This means that if you consume 100 mg of caffeine, you’ll still have 50 mg in your system in five hours. For people who are particularly sensitive to caffeine, you are likely to feel these effects a lot longer–sometimes even for multiple days.
Pay attention to how much caffeine you’re consuming each day and be mindful of the timing. If you know you’re one of those people who gets the shakes after one cup of coffee, you should probably cut yourself off at least 8-10 hours before bedtime.
Ready to take control of your caffeine habits?
Learn why and how to track your caffeine in this related article: WHY YOU NEED TO START MEASURING YOUR CAFFEIN INTAKE