Many of us rely on coffee first thing in the morning as a way to wake up quickly and kick-start our day. While it’s true that the caffeine in coffee does increase certain chemicals that can make you more alert, having your first cup of joe too early may actually be doing you more harm than good. Read on to learn why.
The Circadian Rhythm
Our bodies have a natural internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycles over a 24-hour period. This clock, known as the circadian rhythm, is delicate and includes several hormones that help us know when it’s time to wake up, work, and sleep throughout the day.
Cortisol & Adenosine
When we first wake up, our bodies experience an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone that makes us feel alert and energized. Cortisol production peaks at around 30 minutes after waking, reaching its lowest point after 60-90 minutes. Additionally, the neurotransmitter adenosine increases in the brain throughout the day and makes us feel more tired as bedtime approaches.
Waiting to Drink Coffee
Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages too early can interrupt the circadian rhythm by halting the production of cortisol prematurely. As caffeine is also a natural adenosine blocker, waiting at least an hour to enjoy your first cup can support your circadian rhythm and give you a boost when you actually need it.