The Best Time to Have Coffee to Make It Through the Afternoon

That afternoon slump, you know the one. You're sitting at your desk happily working away, when suddenly you can't keep your eyes open. It usually happens around 3 p.m., but when is the best time to have coffee (or tea or whatever your caffeine of choice is) to combat that habitual fatigue?

While many of us reach for coffee first thing in the a.m., studies show that is not the best time to drink it. In fact, according to Forbes, "Drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning blunts the energy-boosting effects of caffeine and may lead to increased tolerance of the stimulant." Not great.

Luckily substantial research has been done and we do have answers about better times to pour ourselves a cup of Joe.

All humans are guided by a 24-hour hormonal cycle — the circadian clock. This clock controls the release of cortisol in the human body, and cortisol is what makes us feel alert and awake.

Peak cortisol production is actually naturally between 8 and 9 a.m., which means you don't really need to have your coffee then because your body is naturally waking itself up. Your coffee also tends to release cortisol between 12-1 p.m., as well as 5:30-6:30 p.m. — studies suggest that the coffee breaks shouldn't happen during those times.

In fact, the best times to drink coffee are when your cortisol is naturally low meaning from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. or between 1:30 and 5:00 p.m. After the evening cortisol release you really should be thinking more about winding your day down than gearing it up.

So there you have it, two key windows for caffeine consumption. You've got this.