When is the optimal time to take caffeine?

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The optimal time to take caffeine is to delay the intake for 90 to 120 minutes after waking up on most days. suggests this approach to avoid disrupting sleep architecture and to prevent the afternoon crash typically experienced due to early caffeine consumption. Delaying caffeine helps maintain a more consistent arc of energy throughout the day and can enhance alertness in the morning, leading to better overall energy levels. He also notes that consuming caffeine in the afternoon—particularly after 4 PM—can negatively affect the quality of sleep 1 2.

However, acknowledges there are exceptions, such as if one prefers to consume caffeine before a morning workout within the first 90 minutes after waking, this is acceptable, but one should be prepared for the possibility of experiencing more intense fatigue in the early afternoon as a result 3.

Optimal Caffeine Intake

Andrew shares insights on the optimal caffeine intake for wakefulness and avoiding the afternoon crash. Delaying caffeine intake for 90-120 minutes after waking up can prevent the crash and avoid disrupting sleep. Late afternoon caffeine intake can disrupt sleep architecture, and limiting caffeine intake to 100mg after 4pm is recommended. However, if caffeine is necessary before a morning workout, it is advised to drink it before exercising.

Huberman Lab

Sleep Toolkit: Tools for Optimizing Sleep & Sleep-Wake Timing | Huberman Lab Podcast #84
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Additionally, if for some reason one cannot delay caffeine intake, he recommends dividing the caffeine dose, consuming half upon waking and the other half about an hour later to help offset the potential for an afternoon crash 3.

For individuals who regularly consume caffeine, one method to maximize alertness benefits is to ingest caffeine shortly after the natural morning cortisol peak, which can occur with early light exposure and movement 4.

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