Coffee is a staple in many people’s daily routines. Although a familiar beverage, most people are unfamiliar with its effects on the body. Allow us to lead you into an epiphany of how you’ve been drinking coffee wrong, and why it matters.

Wake Up Alone- No one wants to wake up alone, and even those lucky enough to have a warm body to sleep next to look forward to their even warmer cup of coffee every morning. Turning to caffeine to get moving in the morning sounds logical, but that early morning cup of Joe could be making you more tired.

Why? Simply put, your cortisol levels generally rise immediately after waking. Cortisol, sometimes referred to as your “stress hormone,” plays a role in controlling your body’s level of alertness. When you have high levels of cortisol in your body, caffeine may induce the stress response, possibly raising your cortisol levels even higher. This may cause your body to build up a tolerance to caffeine, prohibiting you from getting the effect that you’re drinking for. Try to wait until you’ve been awake and moving for a while to reach for the coffee. 

Brew, Drink, Repeat- Raise your mug if you return to the coffee pot for seconds and thirds throughout the day. If your mug is raised, you might want to re-think that added caffeine. Generally, cortisol levels increase and decrease at various times throughout the day, so adding caffeine to the mix may negatively impact your levels of wakefulness throughout the day, as well. We bet you don’t want to build up a tolerance to caffeine, so it’s best to keep your trips to the coffee pot minimal. Remember, coffee is a stimulant so drink responsibly.

Cut Yourself Off- In most people, caffeine has a half-life of about 4-6 hours. This means that it might take up to 6 hours or more to reduce the amount of caffeine in your body by 50%. To give you some perspective, the average 8oz cup of brewed coffee contains roughly 95mg of caffeine. Espresso, espresso-based, instant coffee, and decaf drinks will have varying levels of caffeine. The size of your chosen beverage also influences how much caffeine you ingest.

As an example, if you were to drink a 200mg cup of coffee at 10AM, at 4PM you may still have approximately 100mg in your body, and at 10PM there may still be 50mg of caffeine in your system. Having trouble falling asleep? If you drink coffee in the afternoon, the caffeine may interfere with your rest, even if you don’t feel it. If you must have more than one cup, cut yourself off in the early afternoon and switch to decaf. Extra credit if you swap the second and third cups of coffee for a lower caffeinated drink like green tea.

Caffeine Nap- Drinking coffee before a nap sounds counterintuitive, but it could actually be the best nap of your life. If you keep your nap to 20 minutes or less, your body doesn’t enter the deeper stages of sleep, so you avoid having a sleep “hangover” or feeling groggy when you wake up. Instead, you may find yourself waking up feeling alert and rested.

More Than Just A StimulantIn addition to helping you stay alert, coffee has many positive effects on the body. It may promote a better memory, and may also improve endurance by using body fat as fuel. It may also increase your motivation by boosting the concentration of endorphins in the brain. Although it’s necessary to monitor your coffee intake, its health benefits can make coffee less of a guilty pleasure and more of an advantageous treat.

Coffee is loved by many and understood by few. Now that you’re an educated coffee consumer go forth and drink responsibly

References used throughout this blog: