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I am one of those insufferable big city dwellers that absolutely cannot function without a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. My barista knows my order as I approach the door because she knows I can’t string two sentences together without it.
If you’re like me and the 63% of adults in the US that drink coffee daily this recent infographic released by Ieva Sipola, content manager at DeskTime, reveals the best time to enjoy your daily cup of joe to maximize your productivity levels on the job.
“I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.” — Flash Rosenberg
This brilliant New York-based artist, illustrator, and unique storyteller may have said the following in jest but recent research backs up this quote with statistics and hard facts!
The science behind why coffee pushes productivity
- The first step after brewing a fresh pot of coffee you take that initial glorious sip
- After hitting your system and tickling your taste buds the caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands
- Your adrenal glands are exactly where cortisol known as the “fight or flight” stress hormone is stored and released after a few minutes
- After 15-20 minutes later your body is in “survival mode” after the release of cortisol through your system
- Due to this heightened state of awareness, this is why you feel a sudden burst of energy and hyper-focus for the next few hours
Cortisol can be helpful when trying to stay alert and come up with solutions on the fly and here’s why according to the Mayo Clinic staff.
“Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation.”
Coffee is best consumed in moderation since cortisol overload is tough on your nervous system and cardiovascular health. Here’s a recent brief outlining the signs when it’s best to cut down a bit on your coffee consumption.
When is the best time to enjoy coffee?
Research suggests it’s best to drink a piping hot cup either between 10 to 11:30 am or between the hours of 2 and 5 pm when the natural levels of cortisol in our body dip on their own accord.
Be careful not to consume too much caffeine too late in the day because this could lead to sleep disturbances or disorders many Americans suffer from this year. The tendency to develop sleep disorders is especially prevalent in men due to societal perceptions of what it means to be “successful.”
You can still reap all the benefits of a strong cup of coffee without staying up all night! It’s important to be aware of your body’s natural circadian rhythm to access your productivity at the optimal time of day for you.
Once you figure out the optimal time for your personal productivity goals you have about 2.5 hours before the energy-boosting effects of caffeine start to wear off. This is due to the drop in cortisol levels that might leave you feeling more drained than when you first woke up. Never fear though because you have a second cup of coffee waiting for you in the pot you put on this morning!
Another interesting fact outlined in the infographic I touched on earlier was that in order to boost memory scientists suggest an intake of 200 milligrams of caffeine after—not before—any sort of learning event if you want the best chance at retaining all of the information.
Coffee does improve working memory performance when consumed at the right time but it does nothing to boost long-term memory. You’ll have to eat other nutrient-rich foods or shakes to help you with your long term memory loss as you age.
Interestingly enough while coffee facilitates the release of the stress hormone cortisol the smell of coffee was proven to reduce feelings of stress.
What I learned
Figuring out the science behind why coffee is the best companion to producing your best work in a timely fashion only makes me love it more. Over 89 percent of office workers, now working from home, agree that a good cup of coffee can make their entire workday better according to research at DeskTime. Coffee also prolongs the feeling of happiness by stimulating dopamine release in your brain leaving you feeling euphoric and happy to take on today’s projects! Pour yourself a cup and get to work, you’ll be glad you did.