I Started To Wait 90 Minutes After Waking Up To Drink My Morning Coffee - Here’s What Happened
Many years ago a good friend who is a nutritionist told me that I really shouldn’t drink coffee (or caffeine in general) first thing in the morning. Of course the first thing I said was, “why not?” Like most people, my morning cup of coffee was how I woke up and jump-started my day. Some days I literally felt like I couldn’t think or function without first having at least a few sips of coffee.
Well, he went on to tell me that by drinking coffee as soon as I woke up, I was actually setting myself up for the early afternoon crash that I dreaded. Now, I always thought the afternoon crash was simply a result of my morning coffee “wearing off.” But the reality was, it was something far more physiological than that. Yes, the afternoon crash was a result of the caffeine in my system dissipating. However, it was what’s left behind that was the true culprit.
In short (so not to bore you with my science geek side) when you wake up in the morning, there are chemicals in your body that help you “wake up.” These chemicals tell your body “it’s time to wake up.” It takes roughly 90-120 minutes for these chemicals levels to drop naturally. However, if you drink coffee before this happens, you block the down regulation of some of these chemicals.
Additionally, there are chemicals that make you feel tired. And coffee (or caffeine) block these chemicals so you don't feel tired. Yes, that's right. Coffee doesn't actually give you energy. It simply blocks the receptors from the chemicals that make you feel tired.
Therefore, when the coffee starts to wear off around 1-2pm, these chemical levels are still too high. And this is what leads to the afternoon crash. NOTE: High carbohydrate lunches also cause insulin to spike, which leads to a crash in energy as well. Couple this with the caffeine wearing off and chemical resurgence, and you’re ready for a nap at 2pm some days. Right?
So I decided to put this “theory” to the test. For 30 days I would wait 90-120 minutes after waking up before having a sip of any caffeine of any kind; not even decaf coffee (because decaf still has caffeine…just not as much).
At first, I’ll admit, it was rough. I truly think it was more mental than anything. I realized I enjoyed the process of making my morning coffee just as much as I enjoyed drinking it. So, I decided to create a new morning routine to replace the old one. I started drinking a cup of hot water with two (2) tablespoons of apple cider vinegar stirred in and a few drops of organic, local honey.
Making this new morning beverage was a simple process…just like making my morning coffee. And sipping on it, although caffeine free, quickly helped replace the oral fixation “experience” of sitting outside and sipping my morning cup of Joe.
But don’t get me wrong, I was watching the clock like a hawk. And as soon as 90 minutes were up, I was preparing a cup of coffee or picking one up since I was typically out of the house by then. But that’s when it happened…
One day, I had to get on the road for an early meeting. I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me. So I woke up, made my apple cider vinegar cocktail and hit the road. The plan was set in my head to stop at a rest stop in 90 minutes to grab a coffee. But one work phone call lead to another and before I knew it, I was pulling up to my meeting.
Without time to grab a cup of coffee prior to entering my meeting, I simply went without it. After my meeting ended, it was time to grab lunch. And since I never have caffeine after 12 noon (it affects my sleep if I do) I simply went without coffee that day. And you know what, I felt fine.
I have continued on this routine for months now and it has completely changed how I feel on a daily basis. The craziest thing I've come to realize is that I truly don't need caffeine to be a functioning human being on a daily basis...like I previously thought. In fact, there are many days that I now go without caffeine at all. Not surprisingly, the days I don't have caffeine or coffee are the days I sleep the best at night and wake up feeling rested and re-charged. And when you wake up feeling well rested and re-charged, you don't feel the need to immediately consume caffeine when you wake up. It's like putting yourself into a cycle that's the exact opposite of the typical caffeine dependent cycle.
Do I still enjoy a cup of coffee or an energy drink from time to time? Of course. But what I've found is that now when I have these drinks, I do it more for the taste and not out of necessity. And truth be told, it makes having them much more enjoyable.
Here's something else I realized after starting this little experiment. Delaying caffeine intake for 90 minutes after waking up is a mini challenge to start the day off. And doing so gives you a little victory or win to start off your day. And from there, it's easy to attack the rest of your day with a winning mindset.
I know this may sound trivial, but once you try it, you'll realize exactly what I'm talking about here. Just ask anyone who starts their day at 5am by going to the gym. Getting up a 5am is the first win. Going to the gym is another win. Getting a good workout in is a third win. The workout is typically followed by a healthy shake or breakfast; another win. So before 7am (when many people are still in bed) you've managed to rack up four (4) WINS for the day. And this folks, completely transforms the rest of your day. Truth be told, routines like this can transform the rest of your life.
If you desire big changes in your life you have to start by making small changes in your daily routine. Try delaying your morning coffee by 90 minutes and see what happens. I'm highly confident that it will have the same affect on your life as it did mine.
Good luck and Godspeed!