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This Is the Best Time To Drink Coffee To Reach Peak Alertness

If a cup of coffee is how you start your morning — and how you recharge mid-afternoon or end a dinner with — then you know the powers that a well-timed java fix can have. But if you’ve yet to hack the ideal schedule for your coffee intake, the United States Army is trying to help you out.

We’ve learned that coffee can help keep you young and can visibly prevent aging in your face, and it can help keep you productive, especially if you drink it at the exact right time. In fact, according to the Army researches, there is a way to drink the fewest amount of coffee to reach peak alertness, LiveScience reports.

coffee
Photo from Unsplash user @brookelark

“We developed algorithms that work together, and they essentially allow us to determine, at the individual level, when and how much the individual should take caffeine to achieve peak performance at the desired time, for the desired duration,” study senior author Jaques Reifman, tells LiveScience.

The Army’s research team is still trying to finalize the exact algorithm that would apply to people, depending on their sleep/wake schedule and how much coffee they’ve consumed in any particular day. The study, which was published recently in the Journal of Sleep Research, found that by expertly timing your coffee drinking, you can improve your alertness by 64 percent without increasing your coffee.

“We found that by using our algorithm, which determines when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, we can improve alertness by up to 64 percent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine,” Reifman tells Science Daily. “Alternatively, a subject can reduce caffeine consumption by up to 65 percent and still achieve equivalent improvements in alertness.”

The algorithm should be available for public use before the end of the year, but in the meantime, you can start to adjust your coffee schedule in a way that fits best with your daily itinerary. For example, if you wake up between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., you don’t want to drink your coffee immediately, or first thing in the morning.

Instead, you’ll want to delay the drink at least a couple hours, consuming it between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., and drinking at least three to four eight-ounce cups in that window. If you tend to go to sleep around 10 p.m., you’ll want to make sure that you consume your last cup before 3 or 4 p.m. to help prevent insomnia and other troubles sleeping.

Since coffee tends to stay in your system for roughly six hours after you’ve consumed it, you’ll want to make sure that your final cup of the day falls in that pre 12-hour window. Drinking your coffee between 9 and 11 a.m. is also beneficial since it times well with the peaks and falls of your daily cortisol levels.

But this way, you’ll know that you’re getting the most out of your coffee, without over-caffeinating your body and brain.

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