Researchers Reveal the Worst Time to Drink Your Morning Cup of Coffee

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Waking up to a big mug of coffee as soon as I’m out of bed is the ideal way I like to start my morning. Head down the stairs, grab a cup, pour myself a coffee from the pot my husband lovingly made for me — or French press, if it’s a Saturday. While I enjoy that jolt of caffeine to start my day, it seems research has proven that drinking a cup of coffee first thing actually might not be the most effective way to give me that boost of energy I’m looking for first thing in the morning. In fact, it seems I should be patient and give it a little time before enjoying my first cup of joe.

In an interview with The New York Times, Michael Grandner, the director of the sleep and health research program at the University of Arizona, says he prefers to delay his first cup of coffee and enjoys it 30 minutes to an hour after waking up. Grandner also explains that it takes at least 20 to 30 minutes for a person to feel the effects of their morning cup of coffee after it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

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While this is a personal preference and not based on a study, delaying your first cup has a benefit. A person’s cortisol levels (the stress hormone) is at its peak first thing in the morning and drops to normal levels between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. When you consume coffee, the caffeine also increases those cortisol levels. Delaying that cup could help a person make the most of that morning rush of hormones. Although some researchers say this could disrupt the body’s waking up process, research is still minimal.

There is technically nothing wrong with drinking your coffee first thing in the morning; no research proves any negative effects. These insights are simply in response to a popular theory online right now that says you should wait 90 to 120 minutes after waking up to enjoy your coffee to avoid that afternoon slump. Again, no thorough research exists to back up the theory, and doctors would say if you are struggling to get through a day without another jolt of caffeine, you might benefit from seeing a sleep specialist to see if you have an undiagnosed case of insomnia or sleep apnea.

So is there anything wrong with wanting to sip on that cup of coffee as soon as I roll out of bed? No, my health will still be perfectly fine. But I might reap more of the rewards if I give myself a little time before pouring that cup.