When is the best time of day to drink coffee? According to the US army, there is a right time to have a ‘cup of joe’ – and it’s all down to an algorithm

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Researchers from the United States army have developed a software tool that makes personal recommendations for timing coffee consumption. This ensures peak levels of alertness, depending on the time of drinking and sleeping.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have confirmed there is indeed a cause and effect relationship between a 75mg serving of caffeine and both increased attention and alertness1. Caffeine is one of the main active compounds in coffee and is a well-known mild central nervous stimulant, associated with increased energy2. Caffeine’s effects will last for several hours, depending on how quickly or slowly it is metabolised by the body2. Read more here about the relationship between caffeine and the metabolism.

Sleep can also be affected by caffeine. There is an association between a daily intake of caffeine, reduced sleep quality, and increased daytime sleepiness3. However, research suggests that there is a genetic variability in the metabolism of caffeine, so some individuals are likely to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others.

The tool gives a perspective on coffee and alertness, but since there will be significant variability between absorption and metabolism of caffeine the accuracy of the results may not be applicable to everyone.

References

  1. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061.EFSA Journal, 9(4):2054.
  2. Fredholm B.B. et al. (1999) Actions of caffeine in the brain with special reference to factors that contribute to its widespread use.Pharmacol Rev, 51:83-133.
  3. Clark I. and Landolt H.P. (2016) Coffee, Caffeine, and Sleep.Sleep Med Rev, 31:70-78.

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