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Science: There's a right and wrong time to drink coffee

You're probably drinking coffee at the wrong time

If you read the blog regularly, you'll know that all of us at Death Wish are pretty much always drinking coffee. Our passion for coffee is mostly a love for the process and taste, but we'd all be lying if we said the caffeine wasn't a contributor. 

Photo source: CNBC, "Make Time" by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

We've recently dived into the best time to drink coffee, and science has a lot to say about it. Our bodies operate on a natural circadian rhythm — telling us when to go to sleep, when to wake up, in addition to when we hit our deepest sleep, when we have our fastest reaction time, and more.  


Photo: IES Edmonton

Because of our circadian rhythms, the peak production of cortisol in our bodies is between 8 and 9 a.m. (under normal circumstances). That time frame happens to clash with when we're taking our first sips of coffee.

This clash means that we're over-caffeinating when our bodies are already naturally doing it for us. This usually results in a higher tolerance to caffeine and quicker caffeine crashes, which we can all agree are the worst.  

During this rhythm, your body produces cortisol and peaks at certain points. This can be described as your body naturally caffeinating itself. 

Our natural cortisol levels start to drop between 10 and 11, and science says that we should start drinking coffee after these natural cortisol levels start to wear off. Scientists say this is the best way to caffeinate because you won't experience crashes and your energy levels will remain intact.

In order to figure out (roughly) when your cortisol levels are dropping and peaking, go a day without coffee. (Of course, only a serious cortisol test will tell you your actual levels.) 

Make sure you wake up at the same time as usual, eat as normal, and stay hydrated. Keep a log of the way you feel throughout the day. The times when you start to feel like you're coming down are the appropriate times to drink coffee from thereon out. Or you could just play it safe and drink coffee all day, every day. 

Related: How to avoid a caffeine crash

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