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[News] The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
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cbramsey Offline

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Post: #1
The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
Ever wonder when the best time to drink that cup (or those cups) of coffee.

Check out this story on Gizmodo.

The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee

Ever wonder what the best time is to drink your coffee? You probably know it is not a good idea to drink part of your daily dose of caffeine in the afternoon. Especially for those who have problems sleeping. But, do you ever drink your coffee and feel like it just didn’t work?

I know I have that feeling sometimes. The explanation for this has to with a concept that I think is extremely interesting but rarely discussed: chronopharmacology.

Chronopharmacology can be defined as the study of the interaction of biological rhythms and drug action. One of the most important biological rhythms is your circadian clock. This endogenous 24 hour clock alters your physiology and behavior in variety of ways but it can also alter many properties of drugs including drug safety (pharmacovigilance), pharmacokinetics, drug efficacy, and perhaps even drug tolerance.

But, what part of the brain produces this 24 hour cycle and what signals does it receive in order for it to do so properly? It has been known for a long time that light is a strong zeitgeber. A zeitgeber is a term used in chronobiology for describing an environmental stimulus that influences biological rhythms. In the case of mammals, light is by far the most powerful. Following the discovery of connections between the retina and hypothalamus (theretinohypothalamic tract), investigations were aimed at the hypothalamus as the putative master clock.

Indeed, in some of the most elegant brain lesion experiments, Inouye and Kawamura (1979) provided some of the first evidence demonstrating that the hypothalamus acts as the master clock in controlling the circadian rhythm. By creating an "island" in the brain by methodically cutting the hypothalamus away from any surrounding tissue, the circadian clock was completely lost (Inouye and Kawamura, 1979).

What does that mean? Well, the output of the hypothalamus nucleus (the suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN) that controls the circadian clock has a variety of functions. The SCN controls your sleep-wake cycle, feeding and energy consumption, sugar homeostasis, and in addition to a few other things it controls your hormones. And, with respect to your alertness, the SCN’s control of cortisol (often referred to as the "stress" hormone) production is extremely important.

Most readers here, especially the ones in science enjoy–and desperately need–their morning coffee. I’ve seen some striking posts (here and here - note the caffeine consumption map with the number of researchers map) on the internet lately showing the correlation between science and caffeine. Not surprisingly to me, wherever there are scientists, there is a lot of caffeine consumed. And, a scientist also happens to be #1 the profession with the greatest caffeine consumption. But, if you are drinking your morning coffee at 8 AM is that really the best time? The circadian rhythm of cortisol production would suggest not.

Drug tolerance is an important subject, especially in the case of caffeine since most of us overuse this drug. Therefore, if we are drinking caffeine at a time when your cortisol concentration in the blood is at its peak, you probably should not be drinking it. This is because cortisol production is strongly related to your level of alertness and it just so happens that cortisol peaks for your 24 hour rhythm between 8 and 9 AM on average (Debono et al., 2009). Therefore, you are drinking caffeine at a time when you are already approaching your maximal level of alertness naturally.

One of the key principles of pharmacology is use a drug when it is needed (although I’m sure some scientists might argue that caffeine is always needed). Otherwise, we can develop tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose. In other words, the same cup of morning coffee will become less effective and this is probably why I need a shot of espresso in mine now. Although your cortisol levels peak between 8 and 9 AM, there are a few other times where–on average–blood levels peak again and are between noon to 1 PM, and between 5:30 to 6:30 PM. In the morning then, your coffee will probably be the most effective if you enjoy it between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM, when your cortisol levels are dropping before the next spike.

Originally, when I heard a lecture on this topic, the professor said that since light is the strongest zeitgeber he suggested driving into work without sunglasses on. This would allow for stronger signals to be sent along the retinohypothalamic tract to stimulate the SCN and increase your morning cortisol production at a faster rate. I still tend to drive with them on since I feel blinded by the sun in the morning. However, on mornings when it is partially cloudy out and I did not get a lot of sleep, I drive with them off because this will help me feel more alert than if I was shielding what little sunlight was available.

References

Debono M, Ghobadi C, Rostami-Hodjegan A, Huatan H, Campbell MJ, Newell-Price J, Darzy K, Merke DP, Arlt W, & Ross RJ (2009). Modified-release hydrocortisone to provide circadian cortisol profiles. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 94 (5), 1548-54 PMID:

Inouye, S.T., and Kawamura, H. (1979). Persistence of circadian rhythmicity in a mammalian hypothalamic “island” containing the suprachiasmatic nucleus Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America DOI:

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11-07-2013 08:51 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #2
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
Question: When Is The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee?

Answer:

In the morning with breakfast when you first wake up. Mornincoffee

At noon with lunch. CoffeeLicklips

In the afternoon when you feel sluggish. Confused Coffee

Right after a nap. Sleep-on-pillowCoffee

In the evening with the evening meal. Eat-popcornCoffee

Any time of day when you need more energy. lots-o-coffeelots-o-coffeelots-o-coffee

Big Grinnie

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Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

11-07-2013 09:24 AM
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skyler Offline

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Post: #3
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
Interesting story. Have you seen ads for the new spray on caffeine? It comes in a dispenser like those for cologne and you spray twice on each side of your next. The absorption through the skin is said by the manufacturer to be better than drinking caffeine. It would be interesting to try and see if it lives up to the advertising. Due to be available in December, 2013.
11-07-2013 10:21 AM
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trish6hundred Offline

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Post: #4
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
Hi cbramsey,
Thank you for posting this article.
I say, drink coffee any time you want it, (Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha,) LOTS OF COFFEE.!

trish6hundred
11-07-2013 11:18 AM
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vcottom Offline

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Post: #5
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
I am a former long-haul truck driver and coffee drinker extraordinare, On road I would start with a mug when I got up, generally around 5AM and quit drinking when I finally laid down at night, around 12 midnight. Run two hours, sleep two hours, run two, sleep two, with a cup at every get up.
After leaving trucking a few years ago everybody tells me I sleep to much and I take afternoon naps to often. My body has adapted to the 2 and 2 schedule and as far at afternoon naps, Well I learned that from working around the border states where everybody takes a siesta.

(This post was last modified: 11-07-2013 11:47 AM by vcottom.)
11-07-2013 11:41 AM
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bwexler Offline

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Post: #6
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
NEVER!
It's a good thing for Folgers that all you guys are here. If it were up to folks like me they'd go broke.
11-07-2013 11:53 AM
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Zorki1c Offline

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Post: #7
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
I find I sleep better if I don't drink any coffee after about 6 p.m -- usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11 p.m.

"Sometimes the magic works . . . and sometimes it doesn't" -- Chief Dan George in the movie Little Big Man
11-07-2013 01:41 PM
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zonk Offline

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Post: #8
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
Coffee Time: mid-morning or/and mid-afternoon
Tea Time: Anytime is teatime
[Image: 220px-Cornish_cream_tea_2.jpg]
11-07-2013 03:43 PM
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Homerec130 Offline

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Post: #9
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
Once had a Flight Surgeon tell me he was concerned about by bloodwork results. He told be they found some blood in my caffeine stream. :-)
He and I were big coffee drinkers.
(This post was last modified: 11-07-2013 06:22 PM by Homerec130.)
11-07-2013 06:21 PM
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JJJ Offline

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Post: #10
RE: The Scientifically Best Time to Drink Coffee
I'd be interested in knowing how long the effects of caffeine last. Knowing that would help plan how late in the day I dare drink coffee.
11-07-2013 09:30 PM
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