Coffee is helpful in keeping a person awake and alert during the morning and throughout the day. The vital ingredient in coffee is caffeine which is considered a stimulant.
Caffeine helps with mental alertness and feeling awake. How does caffeine work? There are sleep receptors in the brain called adenosine. Caffeine works by binding to the receptors in the brain. Caffeine that binds to these receptors does not slow down activity like adenosine does but allows the receptors to work faster.
When adenosine attaches to nerve receptors, it dilates blood flow allowing the body to slow down into sleep mode. However, caffeine restricts blood flow. Caffeine also causes the neurons in the brain to fire more rapidly as more adrenaline is produced.
Adrenaline is responsible for the "fight or flight" reflex in the body which is why some people who drink caffeine have increased heart rate and taunt muscles.
How Long Does It Take Coffee to Kick In?
If someone drinks a cup of coffee in the morning after getting up, the effects won't be noticeable right away. First, coffee has to make its way from the stomach into the bloodstream. Because coffee is a liquid, this will be faster than food, however, it takes forty-five minutes to feel the full effects of coffee.
There are some people that can feel some of the effects of coffee after ten minutes. However, much of this depends on a person's metabolism; those with faster metabolisms will feel the effects much sooner than someone with lower metabolism.
The peak time to have coffee effects such as alertness are thirty to sixty minutes after consuming one cup of coffee. The way the body absorbs and consumes coffee is called "half-life." This means that it takes about six hours to reduce the amount of coffee in the body by fifty percent.
This means the amount in the body will decrease by half every four to six hours. Much of this also depends on the potency of the coffee as well. For example, cappuccinos and other drinks will have a higher caffeine content than decaf coffee, and thus can have faster reaction time in the body. The reaction in the body also depends on a person's genetic and health factors.
When to Drink Coffee?
Coffee can be beneficial for mental alertness, so when is the best time to drink it. Since it takes about forty-five minutes, the best time to drink it would be about an hour before going to work. For example, if you have to be at work by eight and you wake up at six.
Making coffee shortly after waking up and then drinking it within twenty minutes will give someone the best possible opportunity to have caffeine work its way through the body. This mental boost can also be beneficial when driving to work.
Because coffee consumption can take some time to leave the body, it is advisable to avoid coffee about six to eight hours before going to sleep. Some people have reported insomnia from drinking too much coffee. It's best to limit coffee consumption to early in the day.
Why Drink Coffee?
Besides the obvious benefits of mental alertness, coffee has several health benefits. The first is that it can improve mood by making someone feel happy. Drinking coffee allows the increase of dopamine or the "feel good" chemicals in the body that allows a person to feel happy and relaxed.
Coffee also allows a person to be more productive because it is an appetite suppressant, meaning a person feels less hungry or not hungry at all when drinking it. Eating a light breakfast and drinking a cup of coffee is a good way to stave off morning drowsiness. Coffee is an easy way to gain energy and have a memory boost and this can help improve memory retention. Coffee has been shown to help people improve their memories up to twenty-four hours after drinking it.
Coffee also contains many natural antioxidants which are helpful to the body. Many coffee drinkers are also less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than non-coffee drinkers.
One reason is that coffee can work as an appetite suppressant helping to control weight. Coffee is not a magic bullet to weight loss, however, and people should be cautious not to use it as one. However, it can be helpful for those looking to use exercise as a way of losing weight. The healthiest coffee option is black coffee without creamers and added sugar. Honey can be added as a natural sweetener.
Why Limit Coffee Consumption?
Since there are so many benefits to drinking coffee, why limit how much you drink, right? That mode of thinking is incorrect as too much coffee can have negative effects. One of the most common side effects is feeling jittery or irritated.
These effects can be from drinking too much coffee later in the day. The body takes a while to digest coffee and exit the body, and this can have a negative effect on some sleep and wake cycles. Too much caffeine can cause some people to not go into deep (REM) sleep.
Caffeine is an addicting substance, so those who drink coffee on a regular basis may need it or they can go through caffeine withdrawal. Those suffering from caffeine withdrawal can have headaches, moodiness, and upset stomach. Many people can suffer from an upset stomach if drinking coffee by itself, so it is advisable to eat something.
One drawback of caffeine is that it can make someone have to use the bathroom more frequently as it stimulates the bladder. This can be difficult with some people who have health conditions such as diabetes, bladder stones, or kidney disease.
The urge to use the bathroom does decrease if the person drinks caffeine on a regular basis, however, more strongly caffeinated drinks can also increase the amount of time needed to go to the restroom.