Coffee is an incredible beverage that contains liquid energy and motivation that all kinds of people need to get through their daily tasks. But what is the best time to drink this miraculous substance?

Depending on who you ask, you may hear a number of different answers. For example, some true caffeine addicts will tell you that the best time of day to drink a mug of Joe is…well, all day long. Others will tell you that it’s first thing in the morning with a glazed donut to pair it with, and others will tell you that it’s late at night when you have a project due the next morning.

Want vs. Should

When asking the question “What is the best time of day to drink coffee?” you need to distinguish between two possible questions you should actually be asking. The first is, when do you want to be drinking coffee and when does your body crave it, while the second is, when should you be drinking coffee?

As it happens, these are two very different questions. When it comes to when you want to drink coffee and get that caffeine rush coursing through your bloodstream, the answer is likely when you’re most tired—first thing in the morning, trying to sluggishly drag yourself out of bed. But are you really doing your body any favors by indulging in this desire?

The Science is In!

Bad news to all those coffee lovers who can’t even drag themselves out of bed without the smell of coffee wafting from the kitchen to lure them out from under the covers. As it happens, drinking coffee first thing in the morning is not a great move. First thing in the morning, your body’s natural cortisol levels are high. Drinking caffeine during this time can interfere with such cortisol production, and train your body to replace high cortisol levels with the caffeine you’ll be taking in instead. The result? A complete dependence on caffeine and a skyrocketed tolerance to the stuff.

So, what happens if you drink caffeine first thing in the morning every single day? In essence, it only manages to give you the same boost that your body would naturally provide you with sans caffeine.

The Verdict

Fortunately, the solution to this problem isn’t as drastic as you might be thinking. You don’t need to cut out coffee altogether or anything unthinkable like that—you don’t even need to walk around like a zombie until the afternoon. It’s best to just wait a couple of hours after waking up before pouring yourself a steaming cup o’ Joe. After a couple mornings of rousing yourself and dragging yourself to work without the help of caffeine, and holding off on your pick-me-up until about 10 in the morning, the new routine will be natural to you. Plus, on the bright side, it saves you the hassle of having to make coffee at home during your morning rush out the door—enjoy the office break room’s coffee instead!