If you’re like most coffee drinkers, you enjoy a cup first thing in the morning. But what if “bright and early” isn’t the optimal time to take the first drink?

Health Benefits of Coffee

With substantial information being shared about its health benefits, it’s hard to deny that you’re doing your body good by starting your day with coffee. According to numerous studies, drinking coffee regularly can potentially result in:

  • A 20 percent lower risk of cancer
  • A 5 percent lower risk of heart disease
  • A 30 percent lower risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • A 30 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes

Coffee beans are loaded with antioxidants that naturally work wonders for the human body. With less stress-related inflammation and more efficient insulin- and glucose-regulating enzymes, it’s no wonder that coffee drinkers tend to live longer, on average, than people who don’t drink coffee.

As if you needed more reasons to enjoy your favorite brew every day, right? But according to science, drinking coffee at a certain time of day is what allows you to truly reap its benefits.

What Is the Best Time To Drink Coffee?

When attempting to answer this question, scientists studied people’s circadian rhythm. Each of our circadian rhythms are slightly different, and the stress hormone cortisol is a major factor. To put it simply, the presence of cortisol gives you that “awake” feeling, so without it, you feel tired and sluggish.

Neuroscientist Steven L. Miller found that if you drink coffee when your body is already releasing enough cortisol that not only limits its effects but can potentially put unwanted stress on your body. However, when your cortisol levels are low, you can get the desired effects from drinking coffee.

So how does that translate into actual time? Typically, for a person who wakes up at 7 a.m., the most cortisol is produced in the body between 8-9 a.m., 12-1 p.m., and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Following that cycle, the best time to drink coffee is between 9:30-11:30 a.m.

For an afternoon pick-me-up, aim for the 1:30-3:30 p.m. window. However, it’s best to avoid drinking coffee too late in the day if you’re hoping for an early bedtime because caffeine can linger in the body for up to 12 hours.

In summary, according to science, it is best to drink 2 to 4 cups of coffee between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Switch Up Your Morning Routine

With potential benefits like the ones mentioned above, it’s worth trying to switch up your morning routine and drink your coffee a little later. It might seem impossible to start your day without a cup, but you may be surprised by the difference it can make. If you can hold off just a couple hours, your body and your health may thank you.