Why starting the day with coffee is a big no-no.

Plus: Is late-night snacking getting the best of you?

Thursday. The summer vacation you are planning just got a little more expensive. American Airlines has increased its first checked bag fee to $35 online and $40 at the airport, following similar moves by JetBlue and Alaska Airlines (READ MORE). Airlines claim the price hike is meant to offset rising fuel and labor costs, but here is the thing: global bag fee revenue reached over $33 billion in the previous year, a 15% increase from 2022. Ugh, I feel like someone isn’t being honest here.

Speaking of honesty, I am going to be straight with you. If you want to set your day up for success, coffee first thing might not be the way to go. I know, I know. Why is that the case, and how can you optimize your mornings for a better day? Let’s dive in.


Win The Morning, Win The Day

The Devil Wears Prada Coffee GIF

Mornings are crucial for setting the tone for the rest of your day. It might not seem like a big deal, but how you start your day can have a huge impact on your energy levels throughout the day and the type of sleep you get the following night. Our energy and sleep quality are all determined by our body's internal clock, and what we do in the morning can make or break how well that clock is going to work for us that day. 

So, what does the ideal morning routine look like? 

It starts with not lingering in bed after your alarm goes off and getting exposure to natural light early on (READ MORE). By doing so, you're helping your body wake up properly, maintaining the brain's association that the bedroom is primarily for sleep, and supporting your circadian rhythm (that internal clock we just talked about). 

On top of these morning habits, WHEN you drink your first cup of coffee can also significantly affect how you feel during the day and how well you sleep at night. 

Now, before all my fellow coffee lovers freak out, just know that we aren’t saying you have to get rid of your favorite morning beverage. We are just talking about when you take that first sip from that hot cup of Joe. 

Contrary to the common urge to grab a coffee as soon as you wake up, delaying your caffeine fix can actually be significantly more beneficial. Caffeine affects your body's stress hormones and can interfere with your natural wakefulness cycles. Drinking coffee right after waking up, when your body's cortisol levels are already high, might not only lessen the effectiveness of the caffeine but could also disrupt your cortisol's natural rhythm. No bueno. 

Instead, waiting about an hour after waking up for that first cup of coffee allows your cortisol levels to start declining, giving you a caffeine boost when you need it most. This approach not only maximizes the energizing effects of coffee but also aligns better with your body's biological clock, supporting a healthier circadian rhythm and improving your overall energy regulation throughout the day. 

Understanding the impact of caffeine on your sleep-wake cycle highlights why it's crucial to consider the timing of your coffee intake. Coffee, particularly its caffeine content, can disrupt sleep if consumed too late in the day or close to bedtime. It's generally advised to enjoy your coffee in the mid-to-late morning and to cut off caffeine at least six hours before sleep to avoid sleep disturbances.

So, keep coffee-ing, but be more mindful of when (and how much) you drink throughout the day. 

The key takeaway? Sleep matters—like a lot. We talk about it all the time on the Daily Tonic, but it is worth saying it again. Whether you are trying to lose fat, gain muscle, feel better, keep chronic disease at bay, strengthen your immune system, or pretty much improve any other aspect of your health—all these things depend on good, quality sleep. 

Incorporating these practices into your morning routine can significantly enhance your sleep quality and energy levels. Getting out of bed promptly in the morning, seeking out natural light, and strategically timing your coffee intake can help strengthen your circadian rhythm, promote better sleep at night, and provide you with sustained energy throughout the day. 

Yes, it can be that simple. And yes, while it's tempting to hit snooze or immediately reach for coffee upon waking, adjusting these habits can lead to noticeable improvements in how you feel both in the short and long term. It’s worth it. I promise!


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