With the right routine, you don’t need to be a morning person. Get those first few hours of your day right, and you can overcome even the worst case of the mornings.
If you’re like many Americans, that morning routine includes a hot beverage. But which works better for getting you up and going: coffee or tea? Which one will boost your productivity more?
There’s no clear answer to that question, but coffee and tea do have some distinct differences. Here’s what the experts have to say:
The Case For Coffee
An estimated 150 million Americans consume at least one cup of joe a day. That’s 150 million people that would most likely back the argument that coffee is a great way to start your morning.
The reason so many Americans choose coffee as their morning beverage can be summed up in a single word: caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that provides a jolt of energy for hours after it’s consumed. It’s the kick in the pants a lot of people turn to when they’re feeling sluggish.
Coffee is also an incredibly convenient way to get your caffeine fix. If you need a pick-me-up on your commute to work, stop by one of the many coffee shops stationed along your route. Most of these shops include a drive-thru, allowing you to get caffeinated without standing in line.
Once you get to work, you may find coffee improves your morning social gatherings. Being more sociable in the mornings helps you get straight to collaboration. It’s difficult to cooperate with someone who looks like they just rolled out of bed, looking like they haven’t slept in years. Many offices offer a coffee machine for that exact reason.
Swapping coffee for sleep isn’t a healthy habit, but studies suggest it can be part of a healthy lifestyle. One even found that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to die over a 10-year period than people who do not indulge in the brew.
The Case for Tea
For some of the same reasons as coffee, America’s other favorite morning beverage is tea. Both work well to get a shot of caffeine or warm-up on a cool morning. So what makes tea stand out?
Jeff Sanders, the host of the 5 AM Miracle Podcast, makes a compelling case for green tea over coffee. The lower amount of caffeine green tea contains gives him a caffeine buzz without the sense of bouncing off the walls. Green tea wakes him up without causing an afternoon crash.
Tea’s gentle energy can be a great way to prepare for a big project. On the morning before you dig into a major project, relaxing with a cup of tea could help you stay calmer than a towering cup of espresso. Coffee can increase stress levels when consumed frequently and in high volumes.
The relaxation tea provides shouldn’t be confused with apathy. Sometimes, you need to calm your mind before being able to dig deep and be productive. One study found an increase in neurological activity thirty minutes after consuming tea. Incorporating a nice cup of tea into your daily routine can get your mind moving, rather than racing.
Others cite the taste of tea as a reason to choose it over coffee. To those not accustomed to it, coffee can be strong and bitter. Tea also comes in numerous flavors, is easy to make at home, and requires no equipment beyond a cup of hot water and a bag of tea.
The Natural Approach
There are many reasons people decide not to drink coffee or tea in the morning. But when it’s early, you’re tired, and it’s frigid outside, what else can get you going?
An array of other healthy habits: Getting enough sleep is critical if you want to have enough energy to make it through the day. A healthy, balanced diet keeps your energy levels high and your mind clear as well.
What if you run into a slump? Grab a snack. Smart morning snacks include oatmeal, eggs, and yogurt. Another popular option is dark chocolate, which contains some caffeine — but not enough to produce the crash associated with coffee. Fruit and nuts are nutritious and popular as well, providing just enough sugar and fat to keep you going through a tough project. I think you need to pay attention to any of your snacks — all day — for many reasons.
Many also choose to exercise in the morning. Morning exercise can stimulate your mind and body, helping you feel ready to take on the day. It can also help you sleep better, stress less, and reach for healthier options at the lunch counter.
Whether you favor coffee or tea or skip them entirely, your morning routine matters. How you start your day is the biggest factor in how you live the rest of it. Enjoy your day — say a few affirmations — and sit down with the hot beverage or healthy snack of your choice.