Those who rely on coffee to stay alert at work are well aware of its benefits. Coffee stimulates the body’s nervous system, helping us focus better and speed up reaction times.
Of course, there are also disadvantages. Those who consume a lot of caffeine may also experience negative side effects, including an incoherent flow of thought and speech, muscle twitching, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia.
But we know that feeling alert after a cup of coffee can last up to six hours on average. That’s why timing matters too. So what’s the best time of day to drink coffee if you want the best possible boost at work? Here’s what researchers and nutritionists say:
Your ideal timing may be influenced by your age…
For tired young adults, a morning coffee can help boost performance. A study published in 2016 looked at college students who regularly drank coffee. The researchers tested them in memory exams at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. and found that those who were given coffee before their morning exams showed better performance. Those who received coffee before the afternoon tests did not.
“The best advice I give my patients is to try what’s best for you.”
But don’t overlook the benefits of afternoon coffee. Older people tend to experience a decline in memory performance from morning to afternoon, but a 2002 study of people over 65 found that a single cup of coffee, ingested 30 minutes before a test, completely erased this drop.
…but it also depends on the particular biology of your body.
The caffeine in coffee kicks in soon after you drink it, so think about when you need to be most “awake” before having a cup.
“If you’re someone with a medium caffeine tolerance, after having a coffee, whether morning or afternoon, you should feel more alert and focused for one to six hours,” says said Tamar Samuels, dietitian and co. -founder of Culina Santé. “You can be strategic about when you have your caffeine based on when you need to feel most alert throughout the day.”
How coffee makes you feel at work depends on your personal biology.
“What we are learning is that every cell in our body has its own biological clock. If you’re using caffeine… to wake up your brain, that doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of your body is on the same time zone. You may be on your feet, but you may feel sluggish,” said Zhaoping Li, professor of medicine and head of the clinical nutrition division at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The way our body reacts to food, to nutrients, including caffeine, is very variable. Each individual can have their own sweet spot.
Li said there’s no conclusive research on whether a morning or afternoon coffee is best for all professionals. “We try to treat everyone the same, but that’s not the case,” she said, noting that age, ethnicity and culture can all affect the timing of the best day for you to drink coffee for your work performance.
“It makes things very confusing for consumers, so the best advice I give my patients is to try what’s best for you,” she said.
To do this, Li suggests drinking coffee at different times of the workday and seeing how you feel. If you don’t feel anything at all, she says, you may need to try other times or time it differently with the medications you’re taking.
But if you’re experiencing heart palpitations, insomnia or nervous anxiety, or if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine or don’t plan on staying the night, be sure not to drink coffee too late in the morning. working day.
“Generally, the closer you are to consumption, the more alert and focused you’ll feel,” Samuels said. “People who are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine should limit their intake in the morning to prevent sleep disturbances, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and other symptoms of excessive caffeine consumption.”