A strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning to wake up and get going is the preferred way to overcome a bad night of sleep by most people around the world. However, a new study has found that drinking coffee first thing in the morning before breakfast after a bad night’s sleep can be detrimental to your health by making you more insulin resistant and by raising your body’s glucose levels.
In the study, 29 adults were asked to randomly experience three different overnight experiments. One night, the participant had a good night’s sleep and then the participant was given a sugary glucose drink in the morning (to replicate the calories from a meal). Another night the participant had to endure a disruptive night’s sleep, which was achieved by waking the participant every hour for 5 minutes throughout the night. In the morning, a sugary drink was given first thing upon waking. The third night also involved a disruptive night’s sleep, but this time the participant was given a cup of strong, black coffee upon waking and then a sugary drink. A blood test was taken after each night’s experiment, after the sugary drink, to see the subject’s glucose levels and to measure their insulin response.
The good news is that the study found that one night of disrupted sleep did not worsen the blood sugar/insulin response compared to a good night’s sleep. However, when caffeine is consumed before food in the morning after a bad night’s sleep, blood sugar and insulin levels were affected by over 50%!
Professor James Betts, in charge of the study and Co-Director for the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism at the University of Bath said, “We know that nearly half of us will wake in the morning and, before doing anything else, drink coffee—intuitively the more tired we feel, the stronger the coffee. This study is important and has far-reaching health implications as up until now we have had limited knowledge about what this is doing to our bodies, in particular for our metabolic and blood sugar control. Put simply, our blood sugar control is impaired when the first thing our bodies come into contact with is coffee especially after a night of disrupted sleep.”
Coffee is now the world’s most popular drink with over 2 billion cups consumed daily. In America, over 50% of adults drink coffee every single day and in the UK, over 80% of homes buy instant coffee for in-home consumption according to the British Coffee Association.
There are some health benefits to drinking coffee but let’s face it, most people drink coffee for the caffeine pickup, not the antioxidants. Remember though that caffeine is an addictive, psychoactive drug that is basically unregulated. If you drink coffee, drink in moderation and not every day. And if you’re going to drink a strong cup of coffee after a hard night, make sure you eat something first.