Are you drinking coffee at the right time of day?
The jury’s out when it comes to caffeine consumption and our health. Are we better with or without it? Does it affect our sleep and heighten cortisol levels or are the small amounts of caffeine beneficial, together with other healing properties of the black stuff?
We look at some other caffeine facts which are pertinent the working day for most of us, and will probably do nothing to help you decide once and for all whether you should indulge or not.
It does nothing for stress
We thought we’d start with something that’s probably common knowledge. Caffeine, like cigarettes and alcohol, is detrimental to existing stress levels. This is because caffeine can elevate your blood pressure and adrenaline levels, according to a study from the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina. Switch to decaff and look to other ways of unwinding.
It gives you a backbone
Or rather, it strengthens your resolve. A study from the University of North Carolina studied two groups who were asked to partake in unethical behaviour at work at the behest of their boss. The ones who had chewed caffeinated gum resisted while those who were sleep deprived and given a placebo gum were more willing to go along with the deceit.
There’s a window in which it is most affective
And that’s not when we first wake up – yet this is how many of us start our day. Our natural get-up-and-go occurs first thing, at lunchtime and in the early evening. So if you’re hitting the coffee minutes after you get up, you’re reducing your natural cortisol levels which can in turn make you more reliant on this fix.
It’s best to wait for an hour after you wake up, and again later on in the afternoon if you want to enjoy the benefits of increased alertness produced by your body and induced by your beverage.