Thursday, 7th September

Is Your Coffee Craving Causing An Energy Crash?

We slurp our way through around 70 million cups of coffee every day in the UK. But whether your favourite hit is an angelic skinny latte or a naughty chocca mocca with extra whipped cream and sprinkles, be warned; your innocent coffee craving could turn into a hellish coffee crash. Here’s why.


“Your cortisol levels peak between 8.00am and 9.00am, so there’s no need to hit the cafetiere the moment your alarm goes off.”

You’ve got plenty of time to have a shower and get ready for work before you pour your first cup.

Between 12.00pm and 1.00pm your cortisol levels will increase again. But by 3.00pm a quick cup will certainly perk you up. A small espresso after lunch can also aid digestion by raising the acid levels in your stomach.

Your cortisol will peak again between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. You could still have time to slip in a quick slurp, but a caffeine hit late at night is an absolute no-no. It resets your body clock by delaying the natural increase in melatonin levels - the hormone that signals it’s time for you to go to sleep. So instead of counting on eight hours of blissful shut eye, you could just be left counting sheep.

coffe on a desk in a work place

From the very first sip, coffee has a powerful effect on your body. In just 20 minutes, the caffeine will be absorbed into your blood stream. It’s a vasoconstrictor, so as it compresses your blood vessels your blood pressure will increase slightly, causing your heart rate to slow down a little. But have a few more cups and your heart can start to accelerate faster than that racy little sportscar you’ve been dreaming about.

On the plus side, you’ll start to feel more alert. Coffee’s a stimulant, so your concentration will improve and you’ll make fewer mistakes. That’s great if you’re powering your way through a complicated project or need to fire on all cylinders at work. Even better, the memory-boosting effects of caffeine can last more than 24 hours after you’ve downed the last drop. And because caffeine increases the amount of heat that your body produces, it’s also been linked to helping weight loss.

But one of the main reasons we’re all so keen to fuel up on caffeine is because we think it will boost our energy levels. Is that true? Sadly not. In fact, rather than making you feel more energetic, caffeine only masks your feelings of tiredness. In other words, while you’re pulling out all the stops, you could actually be running on empty. So when the coffee rush starts to fade after about 3 hours, you’re heading straight for a coffee crash, leaving you feeling more exhausted than after an all-nighter.

So when is the best time to drink a cup of your favourite brew?

To maximise your caffeine boost, it’s best to drink coffee when your body is in a natural cortisol lull. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the body that regulates a wide range of processes, including metabolism and the immune response. It also has a very important role in helping the body respond to stress.


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