Allowing coffee to “Work smarter, not harder” – Buffington Post

Elizabeth Bouwkamp–Staff Writer

April is here and that means two things: warmer weather and semester deadlines. You may be stewing over the following question: How will I possibly finish each daily assignment, each presentation, each paper and each exam?

Although most parents and professors would answer your question by giving you a detailed list of time management skills or priority lists, I will tell you the real secret to working smarter, not harder.

The secret lies in your favorite morning wake-up-call drink – coffee. After all, the library promotes coffee, and as the scholarly students we are, we know anything the library promotes is worthy of recognition.

According to the National Coffee Association of the United States, 62 percent of Americans aged 13 and older consume coffee, as compared to 57 percent in 2016. However, jumping on the library’s “free coffee” promotion or the increased national trend in consumption are dull reasons for coffee consumption.

If you want to know the secret to finishing your semester projects, papers and exams, you need to know when to consume the roasted, black magic for its optimal powers.

Kia Kokalitcheva from Time Magazine posted an article entitled “Early Morning is Actually the Worst Time to Drink Coffee.” Kokalitcheva, citing the ASAP Science YouTube channel, regarded the high levels of cortisol in our bodies as the primary reason for not consuming coffee in the morning.

According to the article, when we wake up, our bodies contain high amounts of cortisol: a hormone released when we are stressed, excited or needing an extra boost. When we consume coffee or caffeine during the high-production time of cortisol, it affects us in two ways. First, it reduces our body’s natural tendency to produce the cortisol hormone for an energy boost, making it rely more on caffeine; and second, for everyday coffee drinkers, the reliance on caffeine increases our tolerance to its effects. The body produces less of the natural boost from the cortisol hormone, and it desires more and more caffeine to compensate.

Although these effects may have you questioning the consumption of coffee, you need not worry. If consumed at the right time, coffee’s benefits work in grandiose glory.

According to Kokalitcheva and Time Magazine, consumers should drink coffee during two periods of the day: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Anthony Wing Kosner from Forbes magazine, who wrote a similar article entitled “Why the Best Time to Drink Coffee is Not the First Thing in the Morning,” the old idea of a “coffee break” makes logical sense.

In his article, Kosner believes the natural energy boost from cortisol is highest at three times during the day: 8-9 a.m., 12-1 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thus, between 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-5:00 p.m. (traditional “coffee-break” times), cortisol levels are lower. In this way, during the low times, coffee can act as the natural boost your body needs.

For some individuals, they refrain from consuming coffee for worry of an addiction to caffeine. However, they no longer need to fear. Put simply, reaping the benefits of coffee and keeping a caffeine addiction at bay is all about timing.

As mentioned earlier, allow your coffee to “work smarter, not harder.”

In the final weeks of school, I hope you find energy and endurance as you drink from this jolt of knowledge – both figuratively and literally.

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