The Effects of Morning Coffee on Your Brain—What to Know

By Admin Sun, Dec 20, 20

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So many people rely on coffee to get them out of bed and ready for the day. The debate on the health benefits of the drink has raged on for a long time. While some swear by its capacity to eliminate fatigue and clear the mind, others believe that it is an addictive substance that only worsens your need for coffee over time. 

Both sides of the story are true. Natural caffeine tolerance differs widely from one person to another, so it is important that individuals work on finding out how much they are capable of consuming on a regular basis before it starts to affect their health. 

Here’s some of the science behind how coffee works:

Coffee builds on hormones in your body

Caffeine works on a chemical level to replace adenosine, a pesky biochemical that is responsible for making you tired. However, your brain starts forming more adenosine receptors when you drink more coffee. This means that you will need more coffee to stay awake, which is what creates a dependence on the substance!

Caffeine has a six-hour effect on your body

In the first ten minutes after drinking coffee, the caffeine enters your bloodstream and is pumped through your body. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Twenty minutes after, the caffeine attaches itself to your adenosine receptors, which neutralize your feeling of fatigue. Your dopamine levels increase and then stabilize at a higher rate, which is the science behind what makes you feel focused and alert.

In thirty minutes, your adrenal glands shift into high gear and start producing more hormones. This is when your pupils dilate, and you may experience sharper vision. Around the forty-minute mark, your body starts producing more serotonin—improving the neuron function in your spinal cord. This, in turn, leads to better coordination and increased muscle strength.

In four hours, your metabolism increases, and your body starts breaking down stored fats. Six hours after drinking your cup of coffee, the liquid has gone through your system, and you will feel the urge to urinate. This is when you expel half the caffeine that you have consumed!

Fitting caffeine into your daily schedule

Your body’s cortisol levels are at a natural peak three times a day. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your body that is in tune with your circadian rhythm and regulated by the brain’s central pacemaker. 

If you drink coffee while your cortisol levels are at a natural peak, it can interfere with your body’s production of the hormone and increase your tolerance for it. This has an impact on your response to stress—as a result, you will need more caffeine to feel alert and awake as time goes on.


It is estimated that up to 400 mg of caffeine per day can fit into a healthy diet; however, anything more than 600 mg will be too much! We recommend drinking only two to four 8-ounce cups a day at times when your cortisol levels are low. These times are between 10 in the morning and 12 noon, and then again between 2 in the afternoon and 5 in the evening.

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