According to a new report published by the Journal of Sleep Research, scientists have succeeded in developing an algorithm which can help to maximize alertness after sleep loss by advising when and how much coffee a person should consume. The algorithm is not available to the public just yet. What this will mean for sleep-deprived people, is that they can use this intelligence to more effectively manage their energy-levels and productivity during the day.
In the mean-time, lets check out some facts relative to the best times to drink coffee.
When are the best times to drink coffee?
2-3 hours after you wake up
When your body releases cortisol, you are at your most awake. Cortisol is the hormone that controls your body clock & your levels are highest when you first wake up. High cortisol combined with caffeine can over time, interfere with your internal body clock and cause less production of cortisol on waking up. Coffee drinkers who cannot cope from tiredness in morning without coffee, have had the caffeine replace their cortisol production, instead of add to it.
It is best to have your first coffee when your cortisol levels begin to dip, so about 2-3 hours after you wake up.
Somewhere in the early afternoon
Research proved that our cortisol is high at 3 times at the day- first thing in morning, around lunch and in the early evening. Note that ultimately cortisol levels at different times throughout the day do vary from person to person, which means the best time to drink coffee varies also from person to person. Early risers will experience a drop of cortisol levels earlier than those who sleep in.
After your mid-morning coffee, it is best to have your next somewhere in the early afternoon, approx 1.30pm, when your cortisol levels dip again.
Finish up coffee well before time of 6 hours before going to bed
A study found sleep disturbance at 0, 3 and 6 hours before bedtime. Even caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed affected sleep amounts by over an hour.
Consume your last coffee, well before the time of 6 hours before bed.
Additional points to note
Be skeptical of your own perceptions to tell you whether the caffeine is affecting you or not
Results from this study, referenced above indicated that although those who had caffeine 6 hours before sleep felt that they had no effects, the reality was that their sleep was negatively impacted. In many cases, it affected sleep amounts by over an hour.
Avoid consuming it when you are in an overly stressed or anxious state
Studies indicate that you are getting cortisol from both the coffee and also the negative state that you are in and due to this the coffee actually only makes that negative state worse.
Caffeine also inhibits the calming neurotransmitter GABA.
You may metabolize faster or you may have caffeine sensitivity
Harvard School Public Health Research have identified specific genes that directly influences how your body metabolizes caffeine. The average time it takes to metabolize is 5-6 hours but for the difference may be in your genes. You may take from 2 hours but also up to 10 to metabolize it. If you are an anxious type of person, you most likely are on the upper end.
What do we know about coffee and sleep deprivation?
Yes, coffee in moderation can provide short‐term performance and alertness enhancement during sleep loss.
Numerous studies have proved that coffee can give a temporary boost to performance when sleep deprived.
Combine your coffee with a 20 minute nap
A previous study found that taking a nap after having your coffee is a good strategy to battle sleep deprivation. A short nap clears adenosine, a sleep-inducing compound, from the brain and at the same time allows the coffee enough time to work.
However when you are severely sleep deprived, coffee cannot help
Research indicates that once sleep-deprivation passes a certain point, that coffee is no longer effective. In this study, coffee provided no mental boost after 3 nights of limited sleep.
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