Your Internal Clock

Getting up earlier to try to get things done may not be the best idea.  I’m willing to bet that all you night owls (yes, I am one) are absolutely thrilled to hear that.

I don’t know about you but working from home (or at least trying to) during the pandemic has been an eye-opening experience for me when it comes to my internal clock.  I have known for many years that I am not a morning person.  I feel nauseous if I try to exercise in the morning or if I have to get up any earlier than 7:30 or 8:00 am.  

However, with more flexibility and the inability to see clients in person and therefore being less busy, I have spent a few mornings here and there getting up when I felt ready to, which it turns out on a weekday is around 9:00 am.  On the weekends, I’m lucky if I wake up by 11:00 am. Mind you, that depends how late I stay up.  Although, it seems that if a morning person stays up late, they still wake up early. I wonder if you went to bed later for a longer period of time if your internal clock would adjust itself slightly?

According to research in the field of chronobiology, if you get up before 6:00 am you aren’t doing yourself any favours.  No matter if you’re a morning person or a night person, our ability to think clearly is at its lowest point between 3:00 and 6:00 am.  So, please, stay in bed.

I have also read that you are at your most productive two hours after you get out of bed for about an hour. So choose tasks that require a lot of mental energy for that time of day.  Save mundane, low-energy tasks like checking email, filing paperwork, or checking social media for early afternoon when most of us experience an energy drop. Consider having meetings in the afternoon rather than the morning unless the meeting requires creativity or difficult decisions to be made.  

Research also indicates that morning people tend to have less flexible circadian rhythms, so they need a more structured daily routine.  Perhaps during the last few months of isolation and being out of your normal routine, you suffered more if you are a morning person.  Us night owls are somewhat more flexible and may have had an easier time adjusting our routines accordingly.

The moral of the story is to be aware of the biological rhythms of those you live and work with and try to organize life and work around those rhythms.

How has your sleep/wake cycle been affected? What impact have other family members had on your usual schedule?

4 comments

  1. I am a morning person and I do have a routine. I do not always sleep well. Because I live alone and self isolated for two months before I was in a bubble for another month, I found the isolation to be difficult. It helped to call others in the same boat and to hear from them

    1. It’s always good to reach out to others especially during such a difficult time. Good for you Nola.

  2. So glad to see some support for us night owls! This makes such good sense Jane, thanks for the information.

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