Hunter & Gather Foods logo
Hunter & Gather Foods logo

All articles

Why should I not have coffee for the first 90 minutes?Updated 7 months ago

🤔 There are a few reasons why it might not be best to have caffeine first thing in the morning. 


One of them is based on the relationship between caffeine and cortisol. Cortisol is our stress and alertness hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Every morning, our daily levels spike within the first hour of waking. They then decrease rapidly over the subsequent few hours and gradually diminish throughout the remainder of the day.


If you consume caffeine when your cortisol levels are still high, such as immediately upon waking, you're introducing caffeine into your system when it may not be as beneficial, and should not naturally be necessary. This can interfere with the natural flow of cortisol and the pressure we put on our adrenals to keep pumping it out. There’s also research to show that relying on stimulants like caffeine first thing in the morning might lead to a tolerance buildup over time, requiring increased coffee intake for the same energising effects.


However, if you wait an hour or two before having your coffee, the caffeine will take effect as your cortisol levels start to decrease—precisely when you need the boost the most.


The suggestion of 90 minutes has famously come from Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman based on how our cortisol and caffeine levels interact, and based on research around the way that caffeine interacts with the compound adenosine. Adenosine - the compound responsible for inducing sleepiness and sometimes referred to as our ‘sleep pressure gauge’ - accumulates throughout the day, contributing to increasing feelings of fatigue until we rest. As ATP (energy) levels decrease, adenosine increases and tells the body to start conserving energy. During sleep, the body eliminates adenosine, promoting a refreshed state upon waking. However, if we don’t get enough sleep and the adenosine can’t fully clear from the system, this can cause us to wake up feeling tired (and even more likely to reach for a coffee).


Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, preventing the typical drowsy effects. However, as the caffeine's influence diminishes, the retained adenosine resurfaces, leading to a return of fatigue. If we allow the natural cortisol to clear the leftover adenosine before we drink caffeine, we’re less likely to interfere with the whole process. 


Cortisol is produced in our adrenals, so it’s important to hydrate effectively and help support their function in the morning with a drink that’s not coffee. 


Alongside electrolytes (including sodium), feeding the adrenals with forms of vitamin C such as those we’ve incorporated into Rise & Glow is going to be a really good option first thing, as our adrenal glands love vitamin C

Was this article helpful?
Yes
No