The best time to have a coffee

Fun facts and useful tips to get the most from your daily espresso.

There are some people who drink a deliciously frothy espresso macchiato and claim they have not even been slightly roused from their morning sluggishness. Impossible, you might think? Anything but, if you drink coffee at the wrong time.

According to the findings of neuroscience and chronopharmacology, a branch of medicine concerned with the effects of medication or psychoactive substances on our biological clock, any time between 9:30 and 11:30 in the morning is the right moment.

Our complex body clock ensures that our organism is in sync with natural rhythms, such as the natural cycles of night and day and darkness and light, and is regulated by groups of specialised neurons in the cerebral structure of the hypothalamus. These nerve cells controlbasic functions such as the alternating pattern of sleep and wakefulness and the release ofcortisol, a hormone that activates our alarm system and “keeps us awake”.

This neural mechanism works in close conjunction with the photosensitive cells of the retina. Between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning, when we are exposed to the first light of the day,the level of cortisol in the blood reaches its peak value: this is when we are wide awakeand having a coffee at that time risks having a reduced effect and the body may even growaccustomed to it.

It is better to have it between 9:30 am and 11:30 am when the level of this hormone begins to drop physiologically, prior to the next peak (which takes place between 12:00 am and 1:00pm).

All the more reason to enjoy a well-deserved, stimulating coffee break with colleagues!

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