Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee (It’s Not When You Wake Up)

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If you are like so many caffeine lovers, you drink coffee every day, probably making a beeline for the coffee machine as soon as you wake up. In fact, 90 percent of adults in the U.S. consume caffeine almost daily, with coffee being the most popular way to get that caffeine fix. Although you might be in the habit of getting that first blast of java right after you get out of bed, some research shows that’s not the ideal time to get the most benefits from your coffee. There’s a sweet spot that could maximize your caffeine kick, and surprisingly, it’s not first thing in the morning.

When you first wake up, your body is typically high in cortisol—the stress hormone that makes you feel alert. Because your cortisol levels are at their peak, drinking coffee early can lower the vitalizing effects of the caffeine.

Instead, to get the most bang for your brew, some experts recommend drinking your coffee in the mid-morning or early afternoon. Getting a hit of caffeine about three to four hours after you wake up also will do the trick. That’s because at that point in the day, your body is low on cortisol and desperately needs a good pick-me-up, says Sherry A. Ross, MD, women’s health expert, author of She-ology the she-qual and founder of She-ology hormonal supplements for women.

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