The Scientifically Best Time To Drink Your Coffee

The Scientifically Best Time To Drink Your Coffee

Many coffee drinkers roll out of bed and get their daily dose of java as soon as possible. However, because of the way coffee affects our bodies, there may be more ideal times to drink it.

Photo by Alaskan Woman.

Neuroscience PhD student Steven Miller explains that in the mornings (between the hours of 8am and 9am) our cortisol levels are at their highest. Cortisol isn’t just the “stress hormone” — it’s also correlated with our alertness levels.

So if we drink coffee at the same time our alertness is already at its peak, we’re wasting the potential alertness boost we get from the caffeine:

One of the key principles of pharmacology is use a drug when it is needed (although I’m sure some scientists might argue that caffeine is always needed). Otherwise, we can develop tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose. In other words, the same cup of morning coffee will become less effective

The most effective time to have a cup of joe, Miller says, is between 9.30am and 11.30am. (Between noon and 1pm and between 5.30pm and 6.30pm are other times cortisol levels rise, so you might want to avoid drinking coffee during those hours.)

If you’re going to drink more than one cup of coffee, a cup or less every hour will also give you the best bang for your caffeinated buck.

The best time for your coffee [NeuroscienceDC via FastCompany]


  • Is this based on someone who sleeps midnight – 8am (approx), works 9 – 5, and eats meals around the 3 typical times?

    Surely our bodies are tuned to their own daily patterns and not the “time” of day?

  • Nobody talks to me after I get up until I’ve had my coffee, if they value their lives that is.

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