I know many of you drink coffee more for enjoyment than for the caffeine. As much as I enjoy the flavor, the main reason for me is to provide energy throughout the day. I believe caffeine is good in small amounts. You can find the benefits and side-effects of caffeine anywhere online, but what I will tell you and where you won’t find anywhere else, is how to get the most out of it. That means getting a better boost in the morning and how to avoid that sluggish feeling in the afternoon.

A few years back, I read an article in National Geographic that explained how the brain shows an increase in brain activity after drinking coffee. They also noted that with prolonged use, the body becomes dependent on caffeine. So much, that drinking it only returns it to a normal level. If they don’t drink it, their brain level is at a lower level. This is why so many people cannot get their brain moving in the morning until they’ve had their morning coffee. The problem is that you’re only returning your activity to a normal level and not the elevated state that so many people crave. Since I experienced this same effect, I was determined to find out how I could return to that same feeling when I first drank it in college. Fortunately, I discovered some tried and true ways of getting a better boost from caffeine.

Avoid Drinking it on the Weekends
One of the best ways I have increased my reaction to caffeine is that I only drink it when I’m working. This means I avoid drinking it on the weekends. As much as I enjoy savoring the flavor every day, I know limiting it to the days when I need it the most improves my reaction to caffeine. The good part about this system is that since I don’t drink it on the weekends, I look forward to Mondays more because I know I’ll be treated to a cup of coffee. Also, when I go on vacation, I also take a vacation from coffee. Taking a trip already provides me enough stimulation or relaxation to where I don’t need to add caffeine to the equation. This time off makes it that much easier to jump back to work with a cup of coffee.

Don’t Drink Caffeine Unless Necessary
Another time I avoid drinking caffeine during the weak is when I don’t have to think that much. For example, if I know I’m going to spend a half a day driving to a client, I may not drink it that morning. I’ll instead have a Coke in the afternoon when I arrive; this way it provides a small amount of caffeine to finish my day. I never understood why people get all jacked up on coffee on their way to work. It would only make me more stressed driving. I understand that some like the comfort of drinking coffee in the car to slowly ease into their day, but your energy level will not last as long as if you start drinking it later.

Think Before You Drink
I also don’t take a sip of coffee when I arrive at the office. I will first do some easy tasks to get my brain working. This can be doing something as simple as deleting junk mail, reading an article, or organizing some paperwork. Once I know I need to concentrate on a project, I will then take my first sips of coffee. Immediately, I feel like the brain cells start kicking in and I’m able to tackle my project easier. This boost lasts me all day because I started at a later time.

Drink Water
If you’re dragging when you start your day, it’s probably more from dehydration than not having coffee. Your body is craving fluids and water will have a better effect than coffee. Before I do anything, I will reach for a water bottle in my refrigerator and have some nice, cold gulps of water. Instantly, I feel refreshed and my body feels back to normal. Then later, I’ll have my coffee once I start working.

Not With A Meal
Have you ever had a large breakfast with coffee and felt sleepy afterwards? I’ve had this happen many times and I’m sure it’s from eating too much. In this case, I believe the caffeine doesn’t affect the body as much because there’s a lot of food in the stomach. It’s almost like you don’t get drunk as much when there’s substance to soak it up. For this reason, if I want a caffeine boost, I don’t start drinking my coffee until I’ve had a little break from my meal.

Don’t Drink So Much
Another problem people have with coffee is that they drink too much. When I went to Paris, a normal size coffee is what’s pictured below on the left. If you want a larger portion, they have an option called Café American, which is pictured to the right.

As you can see, this portion which most people in Paris think as extreme, is still smaller than a small size at most coffee chains. I usually only drink about one or two cups a day—that does not mean one or two Grandes; it literally means 8-16 oz. a day. Also, remember that half of my serving is decaffeinated.

Coffee is not food
Another problem with coffee is that people use it as a replacement for breakfast. Coffee provides very little nutritional benefits. What you’re supplying your body for energy is just a stimulant. Your body needs to run on healthy fuel like grains and proteins. Having your system function on non-nutritional sources will cause more stress on your body, and in the end, make you age faster.

Energy Drinks are Worse
If you’re one of these people who drinks energy drinks, please know that these can have two to three times the amount of caffeine; this makes them three times more harmful than coffee and ten times more than drinking a caffeinated soft drink. The rush that you receive from these will only make it that much harder to stop. And any time you need a substance to properly function, it is not a healthy lifestyle.


  • MOsborne

    Interesting tips to get maximize the benefits of coffee. I have the habit of drinking most of my coffee in the car ride to work, a 40 minute commute, and wonder why my brain lags by mid-morning. I like the idea of drinking some ice cold water to start my day instead, perhaps with some lemon 🙂 https://draxe.com/benefits-of-lemon-water/

    • admin

      Great idea! You’ll be refreshed on your car drive and then you can hit another gear when you get to work and take that first sip!

  • John Giampoli

    Keep them coming. Your comments were very informative and helpful. Thank you.

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