why i don't drink coffee in the afternoon

about a year ago, i stopped drinking coffee past noon.

initially, i was following the lead of my director and friend, danielle coates-connor. she had a “no coffee past 2p” rule and it seemed like a good idea. since then, i’ve become religious about not drinking coffee in the afternoon. why? better sleep, fewer caffeine headaches, and a positive impact on my time/energy/mood management strategies.

  1. better sleep. how do i know i sleep better? the same way i know pretty much everything about myself: i experimented and gathered my own data. i used an app to track my sleep (sleep cycle) and i created two variables that i could toggle: drank coffee and drank coffee in the afternoon. i then tested out different scenarios over a series of weeks. turns out i sleep the best when i don’t drink at coffee (but my morning productivity is lower), i sleep slightly worse than that when i only have morning coffee, and i sleep the worst when i have coffee in the morning and afternoon. (there are many other things i could have tested - like how much does the volume of coffee affect my sleep, but i felt like i had enough data to move on).
  2. fewer caffeine headaches. when i only have one cup (iced) per day, i noticed that i had fewer caffeine (withdrawal) headaches. i also try to take the weekends off from coffee altogether to reset my system and keep the caffeine potent. overuse numbs any system.
  3. more strategic time management. i know that caffeine makes my brain work faster. now that i know that i really should only drink coffee in the mornings, it incentivizes me to put the work that needs my highest brain functionality in the morning instead of saving it for the afternoon and relying on a second cup of coffee to get me through it. obviously the second cup would help me finish the task, but it undermines my long-term overall productivity because of the negative sleep impact.

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