A man reading a newspaper with a mug of coffee

Should You Drink Coffee First Thing in the Morning?

When you’re a coffee drinker, that special brew is probably a large part of your life. You might start craving a strong, fresh cup the minute you wake up. Those who are used to chugging coffee through the day also claim that they can’t function without it. Even with the easy availability of coffee makers, we usually see coffee shops and chains like Starbuck crammed full in the morning.

However, is it really all that beneficial to be so dependent on coffee? If you’re used to grabbing a cup every single day while heading to work, you might want to rethink your decision. While drinking coffee can have several health benefits, the amount and timing of the intake also matter. At the very least, drinking coffee first thing in the morning isn’t a good idea. Here are a few reasons why you should try to let go of this habit:

The Immunity Effect

Drinking coffee just a few minutes after you wake up might seem like it’s giving a rush of energy to your body. This could give you a good start on your day, but the effect wouldn’t last for long. Soon, your body will start building up immunity to the caffeinated drink.

When a coffee drinker starts noticing less of an effect after downing their morning cup, they’d automatically start drinking more to get that same level of energy.

The Cortisol Effect

Our cortisol effects are at their peak first thing in the morning. This is what helps to wake us up in the first place. Cortisol is a kind of stress hormone that also appears when we’re fearful or stressed. While it’s useful for making us feel awake, too much of this hormone can be harmful.

When we consume caffeine at a time when cortisol production is elevated, the caffeine eventually starts to interfere with the natural process. The result is that our body stops making enough cortisol on its own, relying more and more on caffeine for that role. This then leads to an addictive habit that’s hard to shake off afterwards.

The other effect of drinking coffee first thing in the morning is that we start developing a tolerance for the caffeine boost. This is why anyone with a habit of consuming coffee claims that even the most robust espresso doesn’t have a major effect on them.

Keep in mind that cortisol levels tend to rise at three times during a normal day. This is in the early morning, at midday, and the evening. If you want to convert your cortisol production back to normal, start by avoiding coffee at these three points.

Early-Morning Exhaustion

Coffee drinkers who don’t get their morning cuppa right away ten to get exhausted easily without it. They need that boost of caffeine and the cortisol that goes with it. This could be a challenge when one doesn’t have easy access to coffee. A coffee drinker may also find it difficult to travel to places where they can’t get the kind of coffee they’re used to.

Exhaustion, in its turn, leads to several unwanted effects. One may end up cranky and moody, which is hardly positive for a work or family environment. Changes in routine are inevitable at some stages in our life, and a lack of coffee shouldn’t cause us to snap at the people around us.

Impacts of Increased Cortisol

With an increase in coffee consumption, cortisol levels artificially rise. This isn’t good news for anyone, but women of childbearing age should be especially wary of such a phenomenon. High levels of cortisol tend to wreak havoc on the ovulation cycle and hormonal balance. They might also cause rapid weight gain.

The reasoning of this effect is not too clear yet, but there is a connection between coffee consumption and the nutrients in our bodies. Too much caffeine and cortisol can negatively affect the minerals and vitamins in our body, making them less able to benefit our systems.

The weight gain effect is probably due to the high-stress levels that come about due to the cortisol hormone. When we’re stressed out, our blood sugar increases. This occurrence may not lead to diabetes right away, but it will lead to insulin resistance. The latter is a symptom of diabetes and PCOS, which is a major cause of infertility in women today. Insulin resistance also causes rapid weight gain and makes it hard to stay in shape.

Sleeping Issues

Yet another negative effect of consuming coffee at the wrong time is that we lose out on our sleep. With the stress hormones rising inside our body, falling asleep will gradually get more and more difficult. Drinking coffee at night might be the main culprit, but the morning cup also hits an empty stomach and shares a large role in the damage.

Even if a habitual coffee drinker gets several hours of sleep every night, that probably wouldn’t be restful sleep. As a result, you wake up groggy and tired. You’ll reach for that ‘necessary’ cup of coffee, and the vicious cycle begins all over again. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s probably best to start regulating your coffee consumption.

A Lowered Immune Response

With the lowered quality of sleep and less sleep to begin with, we also stand to compromise our immune system. Eventually, coffee drinkers might start to notice that they fall ill more easily. They could become more susceptible to common illnesses and also feel mentally down most of the time.

With an increase in such health issues, the quality of life will severely diminish. It could become difficult for us to eat what we want or make plans with our social curve. Work absences will increase, which will take a toll on our career.

Problematic Gut Health

When we drink coffee on an empty stomach, gut health issues will also crop up. There are several strides on how our gut microbiome is affected by coffee. The results are mixed for now, but some of them do point towards the stimulation of acid production inside our stomach.

With more acid in our gut, we will also experience more acid reflux. This will also result in more issues within the GI tract. If this occurs, we should be regulating our caffeine intake. Along with this precaution, we should also be taking calcium-rich foods for breakfast. These include almonds, chia seeds, kale, spinach, and yogurt. It’s even better if we switch to a cold coffee brew that has less acidity than the hot version.

Conclusion

Having coffee in your morning routine might be a soothing and relaxing experience, but it’s not a healthy choice in the long run. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you skip the coffee altogether. It might be a bit difficult at first, but try to have your coffee a bit later in the day. Spread out those cups through your work hours, and you’d probably gain more benefit from that brew.