This Is the Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee—and It's Not What We Expected


(Image credit: Urban Outfitters Blog)

The alarm buzzes. I reach over to turn it off, pull back the blankets, walk into the kitchen, and hit the "brew now" button on the coffee pot. It takes all of 10 seconds (unless I hit the snooze button, in which case it takes about 10 minutes). That, my friends, is how quick I am to sip coffee for a little extra Monday morning energy (or Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday—you get it).

According to CNBC, though, I could be making a big mistake by drinking a well-caffeinated beverage immediately upon waking each morning. It could be stressing me out, even contributing to daily anxiety, as well as setting me up for energy depletion later on in the day. Yikes. Before you toss your java in the sink, know that these effects are totally avoidable. Apparently, there's a perfect time to drink coffee each day, and that time is three to four hours after you wake up.

Keep reading to learn why experts recommend waiting a few hours before drinking your first cup of coffee.

"Definitely limit coffee when you first wake up," Laura Cipullo, registered dietitian and author of Women's Health Body Clock Diet, told CNBC. She says this, because your body produces the largest amount of cortisol when you wake up. Cortisol is otherwise known as the stress hormone since it's commonly associated with fear, fatigue, and anxiety.

Here's the thing: Cortisol is known to increase in the presence of caffeine, so pairing your body's natural cortisol with that which comes from your morning coffee might make you feel jittery and anxious.

We don't know about you, but that's not an ideal way to start our day. Then, when the heightened levels of cortisol wear off, you can feel depleted and fatigued all over again. (In other words, you could hit the dreaded afternoon wall of tiredness while still sitting at your desk with work piling up.)

This is why some experts recommend putting off your first cup of coffee. "Have coffee when the body is producing less cortisol, about three to four hours after waking," Cipullo said. Certified dietitian and nutritionist Lisa Lisiewski agreed, telling CNBC, "I would say that mid-morning or early afternoon is probably the best time. That's when your cortisol levels are at their lowest and you actually benefit from the stimulant itself."

There you have it. No matter how sad the thought may be, it looks like I'll be waking up sans-coffee starting now. Only once I'm ready for the day, and three hours have passed, will I hit the magical coffee pot button.

Head over to CNBC to read the full article; then, read up on the many shades of auburn hair that you need to try for fall.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.