Listen, I love some good junk science as much as the next person—you find me a study claiming drinking exactly 54.8 ounces of coffee a day for two months will extend my life by 3.2 hours and I’m ready to award a Nobel Prize—but when the kitschy research tries to limit when and how much coffee I should drink, that’s where I draw the line. And so when I learned of chronotypes—one of four categories each person falls into based upon their circadian rhythm—and that they say I shouldn’t have coffee when I wake up, well, I knew that this science was not my science.
Per Well + Good, chronotypes are the creation of Dr. Michael J. Breus, a clinical psychologist otherwise referred to as “The Sleep Doctor.” Largely determined by genetics (with an assist from age and environment), your chronotype basically tells you what time you should be going to sleep and what time you should be waking up, and they break down into four categories: dolphin (insomniacs/erratic sleepers), lion (morning people), wolf (night people), and bear (everybody else). There are free quizzes you can take online to find out your chronotype; sadly, this Dr. Oz one is the only one I’ve found that doesn’t require you to join an email list.
According to Dr. Breus Dr. Breus, knowing your chronotype gives you “the Power to know WHEN to do almost anything,” including (capitalization his): Have your best Sex (good!), Go for a great Run (great!), and “Make a Deal-and negotiate like Donald Trump” (wut?). Even more problematically, it also dictates when you should drink coffee.
The Sleep Doctor suggests that folks wait at least 90 minutes after waking to drink their morning coffee as well as limiting caffeine intake to 100mg, which is the equivalent of one eight-ounce cup. But depending on your chronotype, it may be even longer.
Me personally, I’m a bear, so Dr. Breus says I should wake up at 7:00am and have my one and only cup three hours later! This is violence, plain and simple. But I’m at least granted a full two hours to consume it. Lions, who are supposed to wait 3.5 to four hours, get an hour. After waiting three hours, dolphins only get 15 minutes! Wolves, like lions, have to wait 3.5 to four hours to drink their coffee.
The choice is up to you: listen to this one doctor who says you can only have one cup of coffee four hours after you wake up. Or heed the advice of pretty much all the other scientists who let you have three, four, even 25 cups of coffee a day.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.