Health Tip: Think twice before you drink your morning coffee
Coffee wakes us up and prepares us for the day ahead.
That is all good, but there are good reasons that you may not want to drink it immediately after you wake up.
When we first wake up, our body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that normally appears when we are stressed or fearful. In any typical situation that requires the “flight or fight” response, cortisol activates the sympathetic system, which drives blood to our muscles and makes us ready to respond to any real or perceived threats or dangers.
The body also has a circadian rhythm, a biological clock that dictates the specific sequences of actions for the cells, tissues, and organs in our body.
In the morning immediately when we wake up, our biological clock triggers the release of cortisol, which peaks around 8 am. As the cortisol level increases, we become more vigilant.
Two problems with drinking coffee (consuming caffeine) when the cortisol level is high.
1) Caffeine interferes with the production of cortisol. So the coffee you drink immediately after you wake up is counterproductive. It blocks your body’s natural mechanism to wake you up.
2) Drinking coffee while cortisol is high leads us to develop long-term tolerance. The stimulant effect of caffeine becomes less effective in the future. Therefore, you have to drink more coffee to get the same kick.
When is the optimal time to drink your morning coffee?
An hour or ninety minutes after you first wake up is an optimal time. That is when the secretion of cortisol is slowing down, and blood level of cortisol is much lower.
Two major health benefits if you wait:
1) Not drinking coffee immediately after you wake up will let your body’s natural stimulant, i.e., cortisol, work. You can be less dependent on coffee.
2) You will have a smaller chance of needing more and more coffee in the morning to get the same effect. You will not become tolerant to it.
So what will you do tomorrow morning? Will you hold your coffee until you get into your office? Leave your comment. We’re curious to know how you will use this information.
PS. We will write more tips in the near future about what to drink when you first wake up and some quick and natural steps to help you wake up without using coffee.