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In this video, we’ll share with you why drinking coffee after immediately waking up is a bad idea. I love coffee! There’s a sign in our house that says, “Coffee is always a good idea.”, and it certainly summarizes our love affair with coffee. Most of the world share this affinity for a cup of joe – 1.4 billion cups of coffee are enjoyed every single day. And why not, coffee is good for you – it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease, and it increases your chances of a longer average lifespan. So why would you stop yourself from enjoying your first cup immediately after waking up? After all, don’t we all feel like the walking dead before caffeine hits our bloodstream.

Apparently it’s because of our circadian rhythm and what scientists call the “cortisol awakening response” or “CAR”. Cortisol is a hormone produced by our adrenal gland and works with certain parts of our brain to control our mood, motivation and fear. Cortisol levels increase when we wake up and they continue to go up for about 30 to 45 minutes after in order to keep us awake. Our cortisol levels then go down after an hour or two.

What happens when we introduce caffeine to our body when we have high levels of cortisol, otherwise known as stress hormones? Studies suggest that this can have negative effects on our health, productivity and mood. Mixing caffeine and elevated cortisol levels can make one feel anxious and jumpy in the morning – the same affects that one would feel when confronted with an actual fight or flight situation.

This heightened level of alertness can cause us to feel more tired and crash later on in the day. Also, by drinking coffee when your body technically does not need it, you’ll build a faster tolerance to it and the effects of caffeine in waking you up and boosting your energy will be greatly diminished. For some people, they remedy this by drinking more coffee more frequently. Unfortunately, this is a terrible idea as ingesting more caffeine can make your mood soar and plummet, causing you to drink more coffee to pick up your mood and energy, causing one to lose sleep and feel more stressed which may then lead to further health complications.

This could be mitigated though by simply drinking coffee when our cortisol hormones are at low levels. By delaying drinking your first cup of coffee by an hour or two after waking up, you would be able to reap its full health benefits. The optimal time to drink coffee would be between 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., when cortisol levels are at their lowest. Some people found that by following the schedule, they needed to drink less coffee throughout the day and were less likely to have their moods and energy levels plummet when the caffeine wears off. Another good reason not to drink coffee right away is your gut health. Some studies point to better gut health if you eat first before drinking coffee. It would also lessen acid production in your stomach, which would be especially helpful if you are prone to acid reflux or other gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome.

Now if the idea of waiting for your first cup of coffee is just unbearable, you might want to consider switching your brewing method to one that would produce less caffeine, like cold brewing or Aeropress. Or go with green tea instead, for a moderate caffeine fix. Green tea also contains Theanine, which can further improve focus and concentration. Whichever one you choose as your caffeine fix, don’t forget to drink lots of water to keep yourself from getting dehydrated as these drinks are also diuretics. And getting a full eight hours of quality sleep is still the best way to wake up refreshed every day.

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