I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I actually didn’t start drinking it until I moved to Alaska. I used it because the amount of caffeine actually gives you a mood boost. Since I’ve started taking care of my self better in regards to SAD, I haven’t had to rely on it as much. In fact, I’ve gone back to drinking more tea. I have a box of green tea that needs to be used up. However, I find that if I’m getting up earlier than the sun, I still need that extra boost of coffee.
Some recent studies that have come out have revealed that coffee isn’t so bad. But what does coffee actually do to you? Well, there’s this chemical that your body produces called adenosine that makes you tired as it accumulates through the day. Caffeine actually has a similar chemical make up to adenosine. Caffeine will actually replace the adenosine in the adenosine receptors because it is so similar. What that does is get rid of the tired feeling that adenosine gives you. Yay caffeine! BUT (there’s always a but) if you use caffeine too much, your brain actually makes more adenosine receptors which means you have to drink even MORE to actually fight off the tired feeling. So what about the mood boost I was talking about? Caffeine actually prevents dopamine from reabsorbing into your brain, giving us that mood boost. If you want some more cool facts on what coffee does to you, watch the video I linked earlier in the paragraph.
So with all of that chemical stuff that happens with caffeine, when is the best time to drink coffee so you can get the maximum benefit? This video goes through everything, but I’ll layout the basics here.
First, to understand the timings I’m going to tell you, let’s talk about cortisol for a little bit. Cortisol is the chemical released during the fight or flight response and keeps you alert. There are certain times during the day that natural cortisol production spikes and drinking caffeine during these times actually counteracts the alert feeling, leading you to need more coffee, leading your brain to create more adenosine receptors and creating a vicious cycle.
If you wake up before 8 am, wait an hour to drink coffee as cortisol levels increase when you first wake up. After 8 am, drink between 9am and noon. After noon between 1 pm and 5:30 pm. If you really want to drink coffee in the evening, wait until after 6:30 pm.
Of course, this is dependent on the sun and therefore where you live, so experiment a little bit to see what really works best for you. The only thing that is constant is wait an hour after you wake up before drinking coffee.
Some different coffee recipes for you to try out. These are sugar-free or low sugar because sugar is bad: