Lifehack: Why the Timing of Your Morning Coffee is Everything

Lifehack: Why the Timing of Your Morning Coffee is Everything

Did you know, waiting juuust a little longer to drink your morning cup can have major improvements for your entire day?

We know - it sounds crazy. We were skeptical, too.

Why wait to drink your morning coffee when it’s the fastest, tastiest way to start your day?

Well, the case for waiting 90-120 minutes to drink your first brew is being made by neuroscientist and Stanford University professor Dr Andrew Huberman, in his podcast studying the functions and effects of caffeine.

He argues that delaying your intake of caffeine is a great way of tackling the afternoon slump AND improving your sleep at night.

Okay, I’m listening…

It’s an all too common struggle - especially in the office.

We start the day energized, power through til lunch and come back to work refreshed until… Two o’clock rolls around and we find ourselves fighting the urge to take an afternoon snooze.

For some, a 20-minute power nap is the answer. If you’re lucky enough to be in a position where a quick sleep won’t harm your workday, by all means, give in to temptation.

However, for most, this is simply not an option, and we’ve got to battle it out with the Sandman.

So what else can you do to maintain alertness and productivity?

It’s very simple (but easier said than done)... all you have to do is wait.

That’s it! Avoid drinking your coffee until 90-120 minutes after you’ve woken up, and not only will you bust the afternoon slump, but, if you’re the kind of person who needs coffee after lunch to see out the day, you’ll be improving your sleep at night too!

Why wait?

You may feel only half human until you’ve had your morning brew, but if you can hold off the caffeine until at least an hour and a half after you’ve woken up, you’ll find yourself feeling far stronger in the afternoon.

This is down to the way caffeine interacts with a compound in your body called adenosine.

Adenosine is what makes us feel sleepy. It builds up during the day, making us increasingly more tired until we go to bed. As we sleep, the adenosine in our body clears out, so that when we wake up we feel more alert.

If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, any lingering adenosine will keep you feeling tired. The less time that you spent asleep, the more adenosine that remains.

When you consume caffeine in the mornings, it blocks your adenosine receptors. This means that even if you didn’t sleep off all your adenosine overnight, you won’t feel the sleepy effect of the adenosine in your system and will instead feel more alert.

However, once the caffeine in your system wears off, the lingering adenosine will return in force, making you feel tired once more.

Your next question may be - won’t delaying my coffee intake just push the slump to 4 or 5pm?

Thankfully no!

In fact, delaying your coffee intake to 90-120 minutes after you wake can help you conquer the slump altogether.

This is down to a second element relating to your alertness - cortisol.

Stopping the slump

Shortly after waking, your body experiences a spike in cortisol that helps clear adenosine.

If you consume caffeine before this spike, its production is disrupted.

By waiting to consume caffeine, you’re giving your body enough time to clear out the adenosine in your body, so it doesn’t come back to haunt you once the caffeine wears off.

And that’s not all!

The added bonus of staving off the slump is that it will have flow on effects on your sleep.

Whether or not you’re able to drift off on time, caffeine continues to affect us more than 12 hours after it’s consumed, which impacts the quality and architecture of our sleep.

If you’re the kind of person who relies on a coffee to get through the afternoon, avoiding the slump means you can steer clear of the coffee machine and enjoy a better sleep later on.

So, while it may seem like coffee is the only way you can get going in the morning, if you can wait another hour and a half or two hours to enjoy your coffee in the morning, you’ll find yourself with untold improvements later on in the day.

TIP: If you can’t handle waiting 90-120 minutes to have your coffee, try just having half a cup initially, and then the rest later on in the morning.

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