We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: scientifically, you’re probably drinking your coffee like a total idiot. Here’s a nicely streamlined explainer, courtesy of YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, to show you exactly how.
To help make us more alert, our bodies produce cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) according to our natural circadian rhythms. Cortisol production is at its peak roughly four times during the day: for the hour after you wake up, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., between noon and 1 p.m., and between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. If you drink coffee during any of these periods, your cup of joe isn’t as effective at actually waking you up. That’s bad, because it actually increases the amount of caffeine you need to wake up when cortisol levels aren’t peaking. The result? A caffeine addiction that does nothing to make you feel more rested.
So when should you drink your coffee? Pretty much any other time. Remember that next time you blindly grope for the handle of your coffee pot minutes at 6:30 am, you little cortisol zombie, you.