You wake up and expect to be alert and ready for the day, you’ve done your best to get enough sleep but for some reason you just can’t manage to get going in the morning like the others around you. Could it be that your natural biological rhythm is just out of sync with the predefined work day?
1. Get in Tune With Your Own Rhythm
As much as we might try to conform to a predetermined schedule, our body clocks often work differently. For many years, scientists and those interested in productivity have been studying what are called circadian rhythms, our natural cycles of being awake or asleep. Understanding the way that these cycles work allows us to be less critical of ourselves when we don’t conform to the usual 9-5, as our bodies actually go through natural energy peaks and troughs throughout the day. By being aware of our own unique rhythms, we can actually find what works best for us, and give ourselves an advantage when it comes to being more productive.
Besides from being able to get more done, paying attention to our body’s natural rhythms can also help us to function better in daily life. Our entire physical functioning is dependent on different cycles within the body itself, for example, the different hormones that are released in response to stimuli such as light. According to research by Dr. Steve Kay from the University of Southern California, your cognitive abilities are also better at different times of the day, most notably around late morning when the body reaches an optimum temperature after waking up.
2. Know and Manage Your Chronotype
There is an overwhelming amount of research into circadian rhythms, with varying degrees of complex findings and results. However, researchers have discovered that in general, people are divided into two different chronotypes, namely “larks” and “owls”, which means you’re either an early bird or the opposite, and knowing which one you are can be helpful when evaluating your energy and productivity levels. Within these two chronotypes, there is individual variation, which can also differ according to your life stage.
Differing chronotypes can even influence our lives in the form of news and updates we read on social media. According to research by Hubspot, reading social media sites such as Twitter at around 8am can give you a boost, as this is when most people are starting to feel energised. The opposite is true for later in the day, when more agitated messages are sometimes posted when people are tired. Understanding the body rhythms of people around you, especially your colleagues, may therefore also contribute to a better level of understanding and cooperation to help them get through their day.
Making Your Circadian Rhythm Practical
Although it can be helpful to understand biological rhythms from a theoretical perspective, the truth is you can only really get to grips with it in practice. Negotiating a more flexible schedule can help those with a preference for working at night and sleeping late, or those with a zest for life at sunrise can focus on work in the early hours and leave the evenings for rest and relaxation. Although we might be limited by time constraints and the unfortunate reality that we often need to work when everyone else does, by just being aware of our body’s natural cycles we can potentially make our lives a lot easier to manage.