Are you leading a busy life trying to balance career, relationships, hobbies, and fun? Feeling tired some days and needing a boost of energy? The caffeine in coffee and tea stimulates the central nervous system as everyone knows. This can provide us with a much-needed boost of energy making us more alert and able to focus.
But did you know that timing your cup of coffee or tea can help to keep you more constantly focused and alert throughout the day? Spreading your caffeine intake over the course of the day and adjusting it to your body’s internal clock could help you to maximize your productivity in a day.
Scientists tell us that we all have an internal clock (called Circadian Rhythms). Our clock is a 24-hour cycle that models the time it takes for the Earth to complete one rotation.
Here’s approximately how our body clock works:
Stage 1 –Waking Up – No need for coffee or tea:
Our brain releases cortisol, adrenaline, and serotonin as we wake up and it gets lighter outside. Cortisol wakes us up. Serotonin helps us regain consciousness and adrenalin keeps us energized and active. We have optimal energy while waking up! At this time you don’t need coffee or tea, according to Steven Miller, PhD. But if you do like a warm beverage in the morning before leaving for the office then try lower caffeine options like green tea or hot chocolate.
Stage 2 – The Mid-Morning Struggle – Drink coffee or black tea:
Cortisol starts to drop. But our body continues making Serotonin and Adrenalin. However we may feel a mid-morning dip in energy. This is perhaps when you should have that first cup of coffee, espresso, black or chai tea! Fortunately most of us do drink our coffee around this time. It’ll help you to stay focused and alert for your work.
Stage 3 – Lunchtime – Eat a large meal:
Metabolism peaks and our bodies are primed to deal with a lot of food. This is why we’re hungry at this time. This is the moment to have your largest meal of the day.
Stage 4 – Afternoon Dip – Drink coffee or black tea:
The body reduces its output of active and energetic hormones. Cortisol is at a low level. Yes, this is the famous afternoon dip. If you need to focus and concentrate on the job, between noon and 4:00p.m. is the hardest time according to Robert Matchock, Associate Professor at Penn State University. This may be another moment during the day for an espresso, coffee, black or chai tea.
Stage 5 – Dinnertime – Eat light:
Metabolism starts to slow down and our bodies begin to wind down. This is why we should have a lighter meal in the evening. However, if you were someone who needs to perform with high energy and alertness in the evening, a coffee, black or chai tea would give you a boost at this point. If you’re planning on a quiet evening, take a lower or no caffeine alternative like hot chocolate or green tea.
Stage 6 – Evening – Drink non-caffeinated beverages:
As evening progresses and light fades our internal clock will signal the pineal gland to convert serotonin into melatonin which will make us lethargic and sleepy. If you’re going to sleep, non-caffeinated beverages are the best.
According to the Mayo Clinic and the Journal of Food Science, the caffeine levels of warm beverages vary greatly depending on brand, brewing time, plants, etc. However, here are some average caffeine guidelines per 8 oz. cup (*except for espresso which is based on 1 oz.) in order from highest caffeine content to lowest:
Brewed Coffee 95-200 mg
Specialty lattes or mochas 63-175 mg
Instant coffee 27-173 mg
Brewed Single Serve Coffee 75-150 mg
Espresso* 47-75 mg
Black Tea 14-70 mg
Oolong Tea (average) 37 mg
Green Tea 25-45 mg
Hot Chocolate 5 mg
Multi-beverage solutions for office and home, like Cuppaz, can offer you different beverage choices throughout a day allowing you to “listen” to your natural internal body clock.
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