Across the world phrases like “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” adorn mugs, tea towels, and bumper stickers alike. But what is the best time of day to have a coffee?
Many people swear by having one as soon as they wake up. Others strongly believe you should wait a little while before taking a hit of caffeine. And of course there’s some cretins who have it whenever, and end up skulling a double-latte before bedtime, but surely they’re just masochistic, right?
Well, thanks to some of the highest stake scientific research ever conducted (no exaggeration) we know what is scientifically the best time of day for you to have your cup of coffee to get the most out of your hit.
But first we have to understand a bit about how the magic bean that is coffee works, and what caffeine does to the human body.
Caffeine is capable of doing many things to us. It makes us happy, it increases our dopamine and metabolism, and it can make us more alert and focused.
Now we are capable of doing all these things ourselves, of course. So the best time to have a strategic coffee is when we are least able to do these things naturally, therefore getting the biggest coffee boost possible.
In an interview with the ABC, program director of nutrition and food sciences at the University of South Australia, Dr Evangeline Mantzioris addressed the common belief that you should have a coffee first thing in the morning after waking up, because that’s when you will most feel the effects of it.
“The theory is cortisol carries you through that initial couple of hours after you wake up,” according to Dr Matnzioris, with cortisol being the hormone that gives you energy in the morning.
Therefore, the best time to have that cuppa joe is about an hour or so AFTER you first wake up. This is when your cortisol levels have gone into decline, and caffeine can get you back on the high you so desperately crave.
Of course with any health advice, this can vary depending on the individual. However you may find it helpful to know that in the morning you’ve got 90ish minutes of energy to use before you go reaching for that mug filled with six shots of espresso.