The Best Time of Day to Consume Caffeine

According to a coffee consumption study, 65% of Americans consume coffee during breakfast hours. In most homes, mornings aren’t complete without a cup of coffee to fuel the body. However, mornings may not be the ideal time of day to consume caffeine.

Coffee represents about 75% of all caffeine consumption in the United States.  The high rate of caffeine consumption is because of its stimulating effects on the body. Most consumers use it as a source of energy boost, in the belief that it makes them more productive.

What is the Benefit of Caffeine to the Body?

Coffee is good for health and helps in extending life. It does this by flooding the body with natural antioxidants that repair the DNA. Other effects are improving the efficiency of enzymes for the regulation of glucose and insulin.

According to some studies, people who take coffee live longer than those who don’t. This is because caffeine reduces the risk of

  • Cancer by 20 percent
  • Heart disease by 5 percent
  • Type 2 diabetes by 30 percent
  • Parkinson’s disease by 30 percent

This said, the time of day of caffeine consumption increases or reduces the benefits it offers. The timings can also turn it into a health risk according to research in a branch of neuroscience. Basically, it helps to identify the right time to put your burr coffee grinders to use.

Why Early Morning Coffee isn’t Ideal

The body’s circadian rhythm is regulated by the environment and runs on a 24-hour clock system. Daylight, for example, is a significant regulator of this rhythm. When the sun is out, the body feels alive and awake, but lazy and slow when it’s cloudy.

The circadian rhythm orders the production of cortisol upon waking up. This brings alertness, manipulates most of the biological processes, and makes an individual feel awake. The peak production time for cortisol is between 8 and 9 AM for most people.

As such, consuming caffeine during morning hours doesn’t produce much effect on the body. Much of it ends up wasted as the body is already in its natural alertness peak if it doesn’t feel like it. Continued consumption of caffeine in the morning hours only causes the body to develop tolerance.

Other Cortisol Peak Times


While 8 AM to 9 AM is the most dramatic time for cortisol production, it’s not the only period. Other less dramatic peaks happen between 12 PM and 1 PM and again between 5.30PM and 6.30PM. Just like in the morning period, caffeine consumption during these time windows will end up wasted.

The best time of day to consume caffeine would hence be the hours outside the cortisol peak times. This would be in the morning between 9 and 11.30 AM and again between 1 and 5 PM. While you may want to have a cup of coffee after dusk, it may tamper with the quality of your sleep.

Final Thoughts

People mostly consume caffeine to boost their energy levels. The most popular time for its consumption is at breakfast time or immediately after waking up. What people may not know is that the time they consume caffeinated drinks matters.

During morning hours the body naturally boosts its energy levels by the production of cortisol. The production also takes place with a short window period in the afternoon and evening. All the caffeine produced during this time goes to waste and builds a tolerance.

For the best results, it’s best to consume your caffeinated drinks after 9 AM and before 12 PM. The second best time to consume caffeine is between 2 PM and 5 PM.