Coffee: You're drinking it wrong

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Blasphemous! Utterly Blasphemous!


The video claimed cortisol levels spiked between 8-9 am, 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm. It’s interesting that Dr. Pepper used to recommend drinking it at 10, 2 & 4. Makes you wonder.

Also, if we all have different circadian rhythms, why do we all experience cortisol spikes at the same time?


I have my first dose just after 6am… could probably time the 2nd cup better I guess.

Ok, I found an old article that claims:

“It was in the 1920s that Dr. Walter Eddy at Columbia University studied the body’s metabolism. He discovered that a natural drop in energy occurs about 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. But he also discovered that if the people in his research study had something to eat or drink at 10, 2 and 4, the energy slump could be avoided.
“After Dr. Eddy’s research findings were released, Dr Pepper challenged its advertising agency to come up with a theme which would suggest that Dr Pepper should be that 10, 2 and 4 drink which would keep the energy level up. The result was one of the most enduring of Dr Pepper’s advertising themes: Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4.”


Advertising at its’ best, but I hated Dr. Pepper then and still do to this day. It smells like old female person perfume! Blech!

That’s what I was going to ask about. I wonder every time I see mention of certain physiological conditions happening at specific times of day. It would seem to make more sense to relativise it, for example, two hours after one awakens or such.

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About 5 years ago, I stopped having coffee first thing in the morning or while driving to work. At first I felt better more energetic but now I don’t notice anything, maybe I’m use to it. Still when I get out of bed I start doing things around the house and when I stop to have a cup of coffee I can tell I want to slow down and relax a little. I’m probably doing it wrong, but I don’t really want to think about it, or actually do anything about it.

I don’t drink caffeine for a buzz, I drink it so that I have more beverage choices at lunch time. So I’m perfectly happy drinking a cup when I wake up and a cup around or just after lunchtime and not feeling particularly wired in the process.

I drink coffee for the buzz and for as an excuse to leave my desk, but drinking it at lunchtime is blasphemy. Blasphemy!

In other news, people like to tell other people how to drink coffee.

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Obviously these scientists don’t have toddlers that scream at you for an hour starting at 2am.


So so glad I am past that stage. Though another few years and it will be the fear of him wrecking the car stage.
Now to see if I can really wean myself off the caffeine again.


“Dr. Pepper and a pack of Lucky Strikes,” - every cool person ever.

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Unnecessary apostrophe.

Historically, we mostly don’t all have different circadian rhythms. The primary driver of an individual human’s circadian rhythm is the amount of light detected by the Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion cells in the eye. These are retinal cells that are primarily sensitive to blue light, but are not associated with conscious vision, although they are implicated in blind sight phenomena.

In any case, when you wake up, open your eyes, and expose your IPRGs to sunlight (or other light sources outputting at least 10k LUX), they activate, and begin suppressing melatonin signals and begin to stimulate epinephrine and norepinephrine release in the brain. At night when it gets dark, and the color of light shifts from blue-rich to red-rich light, the IPRGs are no longer stimulated and the circadian rhythm gears up for sleep.

The key to most diurnal people having pretty much synchronized circadian rhythms is hysteresis. Once everyone is up and about for awhile, the circadian rhythm hits it’s maximum for activity levels and holds a mostly constant level of stimulation for the rest of the day (except for some factors like large meals, which end up causing melatonin production via serotonin signalling in the gut). Everyone then has a chance to sync up their circadian rhythms at sunset. So there’s 3 main signals for syncing circadian rhythms for diurnal people: 1.) Breakfast 2.) Lunch 3.) Sunset

Most people are awake during the day, but at night, because of all our screens and lighting, our circadian rhythm gets stretched out. As long as you’re shining blue-heavy light into your eyeballs, melatonin levels are suppressed. And while it may seem that most screens are fairly dim, if you get a light meter and measure from reasonable working distances it’s pretty much equivalent to looking directly into a flashlight.

No wonder everyone’s so tired. We evolved to be in darkness at night, originally. Then for the last 125,000 years (as far as we can tell from the archaeology and paleontology) we only used red/orange fires for light at night. Dim light at frequencies that don’t seem to activate IPRGs very much. But suddenly over the last 150 years or so, we can be bathed in bright incandescent, fluorescent, neon and LED lights 24/7, and most of us spend a lot of time exposing our eyes to this bright light long after sunset.

No wonder Seasonal Affective Disorder is so prevalent in the developed world. It’s caused both by living at temperate latitudes and by our use of lighting at night.

We still have a long way to evolve to get this civilization thing to be super great for us.

I’m by no means a “paleo person”, and “natural” doesn’t mean “good” in the same way that “perfume” doesn’t mean “pleasant-smelling”. But I still think there could be a case made for adjusting our schedules to try and at least replicate our historical circadian rhythms, but shifting them around to suit our needs, rather than stretching them out to replicate 18 hours of daylight every day of the year.


“apostrophe” police!

Recent artilce by author of a book about sleep cycles and light:


Not sure how that works for those of us living at high northern/southern latitudes. Even discounting DST it would be still be dusk at 10pm and full on daylight at 4am in the summer. That screws up my sleep so much even after living here for near 20 years now, the oh crap it is 10pm already I should have been in bed an hour ago and there are little to no lights on in the house.

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When we get around to updating the house wiring I may just splurge for the Philips hue bulbs which you can program to change the color output so more blue when you wake up, more red as the day gets on. Still won’t fix the still light outside at 10pm and I am AWAKE of summer in Seattle.

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Last night I found out that the right time to make and drink coffee is whenever you see a no loitering or private property sign. I’m happy to agree with that.

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