As a nation, we’re definitely partial to our cups of tea, but what about our coffee habits? Every day, the average person in Britain consumes around 3 cups of coffee. That works out roughly to one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. But, when is the best time to drink coffee? Here’s a coffee schedule for you to follow so that caffeine doesn’t affect your sleep habits.
Many people rely on their morning coffee to kick them into action for the day ahead. However, it has been found that around 83% of people are drinking their morning coffee too early. Consuming caffeine too early can have detrimental effects and can also mean you need more of it to get the same buzz.
Generally, coffee should not be drunk before 10am. The average first cup is at 8.30am, a good hour and a half before the recommended time.
These recommendations come from health expert, Dr Sarah Brewer, who in collaboration with ‘Time 4 Sleep’, researched coffee consumption times and their subsequent effect on sleep patterns. “The perfect time to have a cup of coffee is an individual thing and depends partly on the genes you have inherited, your lifestyle and your biorhythms,” says Dr Sarah.
When you wake up, your body is naturally filled with cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has an alerting effect and wakes you up after your overnight fast and rest. When your cortisol levels are highest – around half an hour to two hours after waking up, caffeine is a bad idea. Caffeine can mimic the effects of cortisol and cause cortisol levels to rise even further.
This can not only lead to feelings of increased anxiety as your body mimics stress response but also means you can build up a caffeine intolerance so that coffee is not as effective as reducing tiredness later on in the day.
10AM – By now your cortisol levels have fallen, and your body will need an energy pick me up. Try having a cup of coffee and a banana for increased energy levels and slow releasing carbohydrates that energise you over the day.
2PM – After lunch as your food is digesting is a good time for another coffee. Your blood sugar levels should have evened out when you eat at lunchtime. However, by around 2 pm, your cortisol levels will decrease again meaning you’ll be sleepy.
5PM – Have your final cup of the day just as you’re leaving work. If you’re a fast metaboliser, coffee at this time should not interfere with your sleep in the evening. However, if you metabolise slowly, it’s best to avoid any caffeine in the evenings as it can prevent you from sleeping properly.
This coffee schedule is good to follow but always listen to your body – if you react badly to caffeine, limit yourself to one cup a day and see how you feel. However, regardless of how caffeine affects you, try not to drink it too early.