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We hate to break it to you, but you’ve probably been drinking your coffee wrong

There's actual science behind your bad coffee habit

We hate to break it to you, but you’ve probably been drinking your coffee wrong
Tom Victor
01 October 2018

Let us begin by saying the premise of an International Coffee Day is inherently flawed.

As you’re probably more than aware, said day, is actually today, hence us writing this, but we digress, an individual day for thinking about coffee implies we’re not thinking about it every day which is patently untrue. But we’ll let it slide. This is after all, the world we live in and there are bigger fish to fry like Brexit, things Trump has said and Kanye West, or the fact that your coffee-drinking methods are probably entirely wrong.

In this instance we’ll focus on the latter. Don’t worry, this isn’t a long, drawn-out set-up to how you should leave off the Pumpkin Spice Lattes and stick to espresso, or a suggestion you’re overdoing it.

If anything, you’re drinking just the right amount of coffee and it’s probably good for you, but you might still be getting one thing wrong.

As Care2 explains, it’s not about how much milk or sugar you put in your coffee, though don’t let that stop you arguing with your pals about that too.

Instead, the science part concerns the time of day you drink the stuff. If you’re one of those people who can’t focus without your morning coffee, some of it might be in your head.

After all, your body has taught itself to wake up in the mornings by increasing its production of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Citing a study called Modified-release hydrocortisone to provide circadian cortisol profiles, Care2 points out that cortisol levels gradually increase by up to 50% upon waking, leading up to a peak around 8am-9am every morning. Don’t ask us how that works for night shift workers, we’re not scientists.

So, that uptick from your morning Joe you thought you were reliant on? It might just be your own body doing the bulk of the work. Which means that you’d be better placed getting your caffeine buzz at a different time, enabling you to be more productive and switched on when your body needs it the most, not just after it’s churned out a load of day-helping cortisol.

That’s right, we’re not saying skip the coffee altogether. It might be good for you, but it’s also worth keeping abreast of ways to get the full benefit.

According to our friend science, you also get cortisol spikes from 12pm-1pm and 5:30pm-6:30pm. The key, therefore, might be simply to avoid those times of day – a mid-morning cappuccino would still have the desired effect, or an espresso after lunch.

We’re not going to stop you keeping your 8:30am coffee habit, of course – it’s a free country. All we ask is you give your own body some credit; after all, it can get a bad rap at times.

(Images: Pixabay)