AM/PM: Caffeine and Twitter

Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members share our morning and evening rituals.

My morning routine as of late has been less consistent than usual, because my girlfriend and I are in that awkward position where we’re always together but still technically have our own apartments, so I’m floating between the two. But enough about my relationship: let’s talk morning rituals. Mine is simple, and I like to think it screams “I’M A WRITER” but it probably mostly screams “I DON’T TAKE GOOD ENOUGH CARE OF MY BODY.”

After waking up, I drift into the kitchen to start the electric kettle. Most often, I make coffee (in a Bodum french press when I’m at my girlfriend’s and in a Chemex when I’m at my own place). But sometimes I prefer to start my day with tea, especially if I’m on my period. On days when I’m feeling extravagant, I actually pop into the cafe around the corner to get a cappuccino or mocha. Throughout all of this, I’m on my phone — usually on Twitter.

Fun fact: caffeination is also the first step of my nighttime ritual. Before bed, I always drink coffee and/or tea. And I’m not talking decaf or sleepytime nonsense. I drink the hard stuff. Caffeine doesn’t really keep me up at night. In fact, I swear it helps me sleep. Is there science that supports this? Probably not! But my parents have always had a cup of regular coffee after dinner, so it never seemed weird to me.

In the words of Chelsea Peretti, once I got that coffee crankin’ through my sys, I brush my teeth. At the moment, I’m a Kiss My Face toothpaste gal, but I’m not really loyal to any toothpaste brands. I try to use ones that claim to whiten teeth because of all that aforementioned tea and coffee.

Now, dear reader, here is where I reveal that brushing my teeth is… pretty much my own morning-time hygiene/beauty ritual. I don’t have a skincare routine. Sometimes I splash cold water on my face? Y’all, I know this sounds very bad. But I’ve been blessed with acne-free skin, and it has made me very lazy. I usually don’t put makeup on in the morning either, because I work from home.

So when I change into my “work clothes,” that means I just put sweatpants on and change out of my sleep shirt into some sort of sweater or sweatshirt. The above photo is a pretty standard “work outfit” for me (Zara Man Basic Sweatshirt in black / Lounge Pants /  Sorel Women’s Slippers). Changing into real person clothes and putting makeup on comes much later in the day. Listen, I love my lifestyle.

Now, here’s my favorite part of my morning ritual: I get back into bed. I don’t go back to sleep, but I do sneak back under the covers with more coffee/tea in hand. My girlfriend works late at night, so she sleeps through the first few hours of my morning, which always tempts me to crawl back into bed. So while she gets a little more sleep, I read next to her. The book changes every two-to-four days, because I’m trying to read 150 books this year. (The one depicted above is called Of Fire And Stars, and it’s about queer princesses, so you should check it out!) I also read the news, check Twitter, catch up on television, or do some simple work tasks like sending invoices, answering emails, or making a to-do list for the day. Then, I coax my girlfriend out of bed, we shower, and she lectures me on why I should really start washing my face.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 843 articles for us.


  1. This sounds like my morning routine too, minus the return trip to bed plus two cigarettes smoked on the back patio while the espresso machine charges up.

    I like to listen to the little wren family in the prickly hedge a few meters away and watch the stripped lizard hunt for insects across the patio boards. Then it’s I pad time.

  2. Kayla I think maybe we are the same person? This is exactly what I do except I don’t get to go back to bed and read next to my girlfriend because I work a regular 9-5 job in a library. Otherwise we are the same: coffee, toothpaste, no discernible skincare routine…oh and also there is no makeup later for me…I’m the laziest of lazy femmes.
    Here’s something I wonder about often: if (when?) I move in with my girlfriend, what do I do with the extra stuff? I’m in the two of everything stage: 2 pour over coffee doodads, two hairbrushes, two cell phone chargers. I suppose it never hurts to have a spare?

  3. re: coffee before bed–I’ve heard that sometimes people with ADD or ADHD (even mildly) react the exact opposite way to caffeine so that it puts them to sleep instead of wakes them up. I dated someone in high school who had pretty severe ADHD and if you gave them a Monster energy drink or something like that it would knock them out in 20 minutes.

    Or you could just be caffeine tolerant so it doesn’t have that effect on you anymore! It’s such a weird drug.

    • Came here to say this – although weirdly it isn’t true for everyone, one of the questions on my ADHD evaluation was about my caffeine intake. I spilt coffee on the form and then left it on a bench so, conclusions were drawn (correctly)

    • Oooh I’ve never heard of this possible relation to ADD/ADHD! I freaked out upon seeing that Kayla drinks coffee before bed and coffee does not keep her up and then proceeded to look for people who share the same situation in the comments section because I too do / experience this especially when I’m at home in the province because weirdly enough, both my older half sisters do this, too, it’s a family thing apparently LOL PS. awesome french press!

    • Countereffects of drugs that affect mood/sleep are surprisingly common. I often have the opposite issue, where things that are supposed to relax me and help me sleep instead make me more wired and anxious.

    • Yep. Was just about to post that. Caffeine has no keeping-me-awake properties, and if I have too much then it puts me to sleep. It’s a standard ADHD thing, it’s basically the flip side of why taking speed helps us calm down and focus.

    • I had heard that it has to do with the blood pressure: If your rr is low, caffeine actually helps you to normalize it so you can get to sleep – and won’t stay awake because the body sends “attention, low blood pressure!”-signals :)

  4. I also never used to wash my face because it felt like too much effort and took forever to wash off and water would get all over the floor but now I use something that just says ‘face wash’ on the packaging while I’m in the shower so it’s really easy to wash off and I just lather it on my face the same way I lather shower gel on the rest of my body. This has honestly changed my life and my face feels so much softer and it takes literally 30 seconds.

  5. I love this column and feel like it would be great for one of those monthly roundups that Laneia puts together where everyone sends in a picture and describes their routine.

  6. I drink caffeine of some kind before bed! I have pretty severe ADHD, and since it’s a stimulant, it chills that out enough that I can actually sleep. I know a few people without ADHD that do it too, though, because they find it comforting.

    Also, yes, the uniform sounds like me. I write and am a student, so ‘real person clothes’ don’t really happen till the mid-afternoon.

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