Work and Career

Does Coffee Stump your Productivity?

Does drinking coffee early in the morning give you the jumpstart you need to accomplish tasks with superhuman speed? Well, not exactly. Drinking coffee first thing in the morning does not mean you can function without stopping to take a break because you have caffeine in your system.

That’s because, every morning, your body produces high levels of cortisol, more popularly known as the stress hormone. Caffeine found in coffee affects the body’s production of cortisol, causing it to produce less cortisol. What the body does is that it just depends on the caffeine to make up for the decreased production of cortisol.

It simply means that every time you drink coffee in the morning, you reduce your cortisol production, cortisol that your body needs to combat or manage stress. Decreased cortisol levels mean you also lower your body’s ability to ward off or control symptoms of stress. Drinking coffee every morning also raises your tolerance for caffeine. Instead of producing more or increasing your cortisol levels, the caffeine in coffee just replaces the cortisol you lose.

In case you’re wondering what time of day you should have your cup of coffee, experts say that you should drink it between 10 am and 12 noon, and between 2 pm and 5 pm. These are the times of the day when cortisol levels are low and a caffeine boost is needed. (The cortisol levels in your body reach their peak around breakfast, lunch, and dinner time.)

For people who have made it a habit to drink coffee every morning, you may want to move your coffee break to ten in the morning so that you don’t waste your natural cortisol production.

Don’t swear off coffee for good, though. Coffee remains a powerful, effective, and mouth-watering stimulant. Have you ever seen an office without a coffee machine in it? Why do you think there are so many coffee shops in the world?

It’s because coffee can give you that much-needed jolt of energy and mental sharpness. It can enhance both your motor and cognitive performance while boosting your memory. It can also improve your ability to focus. It’s quite a powerful antioxidant, too. No wonder so many people are coffee lovers!

But coffee lovers, beware. Two cups of coffee a day is still considered okay and normal, but if you’re downing five or more, this can make you over-caffeinated. (Yes, over 600 milligrams of coffee is too much.)

Drinking too much coffee can cause you to feel irritable and restless. It can also cause an upset stomach, muscle tremors, and a rapid heartbeat. Regardless of whether it increases or decreases productivity in the workplace, the coffee vending machine in the staff room won’t be going away anytime soon. Productivity increases, and cortisol levels aside, a cup of coffee represents so much more. It can represent ritual, time with friends, even just five minutes alone.

It signifies, “Hi, let’s talk for a while!” and allows the drinker to take a break and recharge, one sip at a time.

Rouselle Isla

Contributor at Kami
Rouselle Isla

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