This is why you should never have a coffee when you wake up (and it can actually make you more tired)

Coffee first thing in the morning is the only way to start the day. Am I right?

There’s nothing quite like that hit of energy you experience after your first few sips of deliciously rich brew. But whilst most of us knock back at least one shot of espresso as soon as we crawl out of bed, experts warn this could actually be one of the worst ways to start our day.

Indeed, according to experts, drinking coffee on an empty stomach right after waking up can interfere with your cortisol levels and actually leave you feeling even more tired later on in the day. 

As Parvinder Sagoo, Pharmacist and Online Health Adviser for SimplyMedsOnline, explains: “Drinking coffee as soon as you wake up could interfere with your body’s cortisol production which could leave you feeling more stressed and anxious if you dive straight in for a coffee as oppose to a glass of water.”

Parvinder also explains that when you first wake up, your body is dehydrated from having no liquids for up to 8 hours. “Caffeine is a diuretic which means you want to urinate more often, however after a night of sleep we need to hydrate not lose even more liquids. I would wait at least an hour after waking up before you have your first coffee of the day.”

Nataly Komova, nutritionist and fitness expert at JustCBD, adds that whilst increasing your cortisol hormones in the morning will give you a temporary alertness, you will crash after a while and be left feeling fatigued.

“Increased production of cortisol hormones can interfere with your circadian rhythm and leave you feeling groggier,” she explains. “The high levels can spike blood sugar, which cause insulin resistance and drains your energy as the body works harder to maintain moderate blood glucose levels. Excess cortisol can hinder your normal sleep mechanism and sleep quality as the body produces more stress hormones at night when the cortisol levels are supposed to be low. Poor sleep can result to fatigue later during the day.”

So when is the optimum time for your first trip to your local coffee shop? “I recommend you have your coffee in the late morning to early afternoon; 3 to 4 hours after getting out of bed as the cortisol hormones tend to be lower at this time,” Nataly advises. Parvinder agrees, adding:  “Mid to late morning is the best time for a bit of a pick-me-up and the coffee should allow you to feel increased alertness to get you through the rest of the day. You also have around 6 to 10 hours to burn off the caffeine before you try and go to sleep.”