The Best Time Of Day To Drink Coffee, According To Science

Photo: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
woman drinking morning coffee

Nothing seems to be more invigorating than that caffeine boost from the perfect cup of coffee, whether it's first thing in the morning, a midday pick-me-up, or a nightcap before bed. For many people, coffee is their happiness, their salvation, and they cannot go a day without it.

Other than going through coffee withdrawal, the taste of coffee alone is sometimes enough to get people energized for their day or tasks ahead. And the best part, more than anything, is when you are able to find coffee enthusiasts who share your love for the caffeinated and revitalizing drink.

The only thing better than drinking a cup of Joe itself is discovering the best time to drink coffee to receive the optimum health benefits.

RELATED: What Caffeine Really Does To Your Brain

Coffee is scientifically proven to fill the body with natural antioxidants, acts as a calming agent, and repair DNA. Drinking coffee regularly can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and even Parkinson's disease.

If coffee is part of your regular morning routine, there are different times you can drink it: before work, on your way to work, or once you get to work, for example.

However, there is an ideal time to get that caffeine into your system — and it's not always in the morning, as one study determined.

When is the best time to drink coffee?

As one study explained, our body releases different hormones daily, and one that many of us may not know about is the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to make our body feel alert (or more so on edge).

The time our cortisol comes out depends on our circadian rhythm.

Neuroscientist and postdoctoral research fellow at the Geisel School of Medicine, Steven L. Miller, revealed that drinking coffee while your brain is already releasing cortisol will limit the positive effects due to the fact that you are already "wired up."

Instead, you should aim to get that morning cup of coffee into your system when your natural cortisol levels are low.

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What time should you drink coffee?

According to the study, you should drink coffee when your cortisol levels are low to avoid getting the jitters, while also stabilizing your energy and mood. You should usually wait at least 1.5-2 hours before consuming your coffee after waking up to reset your circadian rhythm.

If you wake up between 6-7 a.m., you should drink coffee between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

If you wake up between 8-9 a.m., you should drink coffee between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

If you wake up between 10-11 a.m., you should drink coffee between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

If you wake up between noon-1 p.m., you should drink coffee between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

If you wake up between 2 -3 p.m., you should drink coffee between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.

While it may seem agonizing to have to wait a few hours to drink your first cup of the day, remember that, in the end, you're reaping tons of benefits from your favorite caffeinated drink! As long as you don't drink too much of it, that is.

In the meantime, drink water, go to bed earlier, stretch your body, wash your face, and eat a hearty meal.

The next time you want to partake in a wonderful cup of coffee, you can do so with a smile on your face, thinking of all the great benefits it brings. And that's especially true if you're mindful of the time you decide to drink it.

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Lani Akingbade is a former staff writer for Affinity Magazine, former contributor and editorial writer for YourTango, social media and brand strategist, and digital content manager. Her writing often focuses on lifestyle, wellness, and entertainment topics.