Why You Should Wait An Hour Before Drinking Coffee In The Morning

Oh, coffee. As far as we're concerned, that old Folgers ad got it right — the best part of waking up, for us, is having some coffee in our cup. Many is the night we've gone to bed already dreaming about our morning cup of joe, and many is the morning we've reached for the coffee pot within minutes of rolling out of bed. Contrary to what you might have heard about coffee, there's absolutely no reason not to have a habit as long as you take your java unsweetened and limit your total caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams or less per day (via Johns Hopkins). 

But rather than just unrestrainedly guzzling coffee from the moment you wake, there's an ideal way to enjoy this brew. As we've covered in the past, it's best for your blood sugar levels to sip your coffee alongside your breakfast, or after you've eaten. Researchers have additional advice on the best way to get your morning boost comfortably, and it has to do with the "stress hormone" cortisol. 

Wait an hour to get the most bang for your coffee buck

Researchers suggest that there may be mental health benefits to waiting about an hour after waking up to enjoy your first cup of java. According to HuffPost, cortisol, the hormone known for its role in the body when we perceive stress, anxiety, or fear, is also a natural part of waking up. In the morning, cortisol levels naturally climb to their peak to give you an energy boost and help you wake up. Therefore, according to registered dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, if you're looking to feel a caffeine boost from your morning joe, you may as well wait to indulge, as your body is already giving you a natural jolt.

"There is some science behind isolating caffeine and peak cortisol so they don't go head to head and have negative compounded effects in the body [like the jitters]," Beckerman explained. "You basically want the caffeine in the coffee to shine as a solo artist and not be influenced by the strong effects of cortisol." As cortisol peaks about 30 to 45 minutes after you wake up, sipping coffee during that time might give you too much of a boost, causing you to feel anxious or jittery. Even if that's not the case, you might not notice the energy surge you're looking for in coffee if you're already experiencing a natural one. So, delaying that all-important first cup of the day might be worth the wait.