This Is When You Should Stop Drinking Caffeine For The Day

Many people feel their day doesn't start until they've had their first cup of coffee. Maybe you've seen a coworker walking around with one of those popular coffee mugs that reads, "Don't talk to me until I've had my coffee." The caffeine found in coffee acts as a stimulant which is why we feel more awake and energized after consumption (via the Cleveland Clinic). In a 2020 survey conducted by the National Coffee Association of the U.S., it was found that the average American consumes a little over three cups of coffee per day. Though many people feel the benefits of a morning coffee are essential to their ability to function throughout the day, consuming too much caffeine too late in the day can majorly disturb our sleep (via HuffPost).

Women's health expert, Sherry A. Ross, M.D., suggests getting in your caffeine fix as much as three to four hours into your day as opposed to first thing in the morning (via MSN). This is the time of day that our cortisol levels begin to decrease and that's when we find ourselves most in need of a boost. Cortisol is a hormone that keeps us on high alert during our body's fight-or-flight stress response (via Harvard Health Publishing). Just after waking up, our stress hormones immediately go to work keeping us awake and drinking coffee can actually interfere with the effects of the caffeine. Waiting a few hours before indulging can actually result in a better payoff.

Experts suggest drinking coffee midmorning to afternoon, but how late is too late?

But wait a minute, if drinking coffee later in the day will get us buzzing more effectively, then how late is too late in the day? Research indicates that we should cut ourselves off around 2pm (via Independent). A study done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, determined that caffeine ingested as much as six hours before bed was enough to interfere with normal sleep patterns (via Science Daily). According to experts at the Cleveland Clinic, consuming too much caffeine can result in increased levels of anxiety, headaches, increased heart rate, and insomnia. Researchers at Advanced Sleep Medicine Services Inc. suggest firing up that coffee pot anywhere between 9:30 to 11:30am to get the most out of your cup of joe. 

Keep in mind that coffee also has some great health benefits such as prevention against heart disease and Alzheimer's (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). However, the FDA advises no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to around four or five cups of coffee. Being mindful about how much we're consuming and when we're consuming it, will help keep our sleep consistent and our minds and bodies naturally alert.