The line between not enough coffee and too much is very, very fine—especially if you’re like me and you don’t so much drink coffee as you do suck it up like you’re a Shop Vac. Before you know it, you’re all jittery and stuck in full-blown coffee buzz territory. And let’s face it: It wouldn’t happen so much if coffee weren’t sooo gooood.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to use your coffee buzz to your advantage. All you need to do is make a few tweaks to when you consume it:
1. Drink it in small doses
Many of us make the mistake of having a coffee first thing in the morning, when in fact it’s better to spread out your caffeine intake throughout the day. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found small, frequent doses every hour is the best way to stay alert all day—so you might want to swap your morning grande for an hourly quarter-cup of java.
2. Drink it during lulls
According to Steven Miller, a neuroscience Ph.D. student, drinking coffee in the morning isn’t actually necessary. In the morning (typically between the hours of 8am and 9am) our cortisol levels are at their highest, which helps us feel alert. By having coffee at our most alert, we’re actually wasting the coffee buzz during a time when we don’t really need it:
One of the key principles of pharmacology is use a drug when it is needed (although I’m sure some scientists might argue that caffeine is always needed). Otherwise, we can develop a tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose. In other words, the same cup of morning coffee will be less effective.
Miller recommends drinking coffee during times when our cortisol levels tend to dip—which is usually between 9:30am to 11:30am and then again from 1:30pm to 5pm.
3. Drink it before a nap
This sounds counterproductive, but one of the best ways you can put your coffee buzz to good use is by drinking a cup of coffee and then taking a 15-minute nap. Because it can take upwards of 20 minutes for the caffeine to be absorbed by your body, researchers at Britain’s Longborough University found sleepy volunteers were more alert after a post-coffee nap.
4. Track your caffeine intake
Are you wondering if another dose of caffeine will boost your performance or take you over the limit? Use a caffeine tracking app like Caffeine Zone 2 or Up Coffee to determine the best times for you to enjoy—or avoid—another cup.
How do you maximize your coffee buzz?
Related on Organic Authority
Image: Woman with coffee photo via Shutterstock