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Study examines the best time for a coffee break

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 5:20am  ET

Coffee may help wake you up in the morning, but is that the best time to maximize its caffeine boost. (WTOP file)

Double shot: a nap and caffeine

Joan Jones, WTOP


WASHINGTON - Many coffee drinkers prefer a dose of caffeine first thing in the morning. But how much of a jolt does that cup of coffee provide?

The Smithsonian Magazine reports that coffee may lose its caffeinated punch when you are already alert thanks to cortisol levels, a hormone related to stress and alertness.

The more cortisol, the more alert you are likely to be and the less effective coffee will be.

The magazine cites a D.C.-based neuroscience blog that says cortisol levels typically peak between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., again from noon to 1 p.m. and between 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Blogger Steven Miller suggests that coffee will give drinkers the biggest boost if they gulp that joe when cortisol levels drop between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

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