Enjoying a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning is a daily habit many seniors swear by. Recent research, however, suggests that early morning is not the best time of the day to drink the caffeinated beverage.
Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR)
Cortisol, which is strongly associated with mental alertness, is just one of the hormones controlled by the body’s circadian rhythms. The body’s internal 24-hour clock helps prepare your loved one for the day with cortisol levels that typically peak between 8am and 9am. A study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found that there’s a 50 percent increase in cortisol production upon awakening.
Coffee and Cortisol
Drinking coffee when cortisol levels are already high isn’t just counterproductive, senior home care experts note, the effect your loved one enjoys from consuming coffee actually replaces the natural boost he or she would gain from the cortisol. The body reacts by craving more caffeine as it develops an increased tolerance of the stimulant. Worse yet, alterations in the body’s cortisol circadian rhythm are associated with changes in metabolism that can lead to chronic fatigue.
Getting the Timing Right
The other two times of the day when cortisol levels peak are around lunchtime and dinner. That means that the periods of the day traditionally known as “coffee breaks” may be the ideal times to enjoy the energy lift that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee provides.
In addition to drinking coffee in the late morning and late afternoon, a late evening cup of joe is effective as well, but as shown in a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, caffeine consumed within six hours of bedtime has a disruptive effect on sleep. In-home caregivers can help senior loved ones time a cup of coffee just right to experience the enjoyment of drinking coffee with none of the drawbacks.
When timed right, coffee can be a tasty addition to a senior’s regular diet. Some studies have even shown caffeine consumption can help stave off the development of Parkinson’s and ease motor symptoms of the disease. Ensure your loved one is eating a healthy and balanced diet with help from Home Care Assistance. In addition to providing Parkinson’s home care in Caledon, we offer comprehensive hourly and live-in care services for seniors who need additional help with tasks like meal planning and preparation, personal grooming, and transportation. Call 905-951-8885 to speak with a friendly Care Manager who can answer questions and discuss care options.