Most Americans operate by their work schedule, organizing the day carefully and managing their time to accomplish as much as possible. This schedule doesn’t have the luxury of considering the body clock, the natural patterns in which our body wants to operate. While we all have behavioral idiosyncrasies, research shows that most people’s body rhythms operate similarly, that there are optimum times of the day to perform certain tasks.
The information below looks at your day from three different vantage points.
From the time you wake up in the morning, your body temperature begins to rise, increasing working memory, alertness, and concentration. Studies show that the best time for cognitive work that requires concentration is best during the late morning. From 12 p.m.-4 p.m., the body is prone to distraction and fatigue, partly due to lunch, so 2 p.m. is the perfect time for a nap. Late afternoon into the evening is the prime time for creative thinking, when your body is relaxing and beginning to tire.
Surprisingly, studies show that we have 17.6% better lung function after 5 p.m. Accordingly, physical activity is best from 3-6 p.m., when your eye-hand coordination is at its peak. Your muscles are also stronger in the evening. It’s recommended that you eat during your active hours of the day, which has been shown to lessen obesity.
For a culture whose day revolves around social media, these results are very interesting – researchers suggest checking and sending emails during the early morning, around 6 a.m. Evidently, people are more likely to read emails that were written early in the day. 8-9 a.m. is the optimum time to tweet, when you’re happy and refreshed from sleeping. This period is slightly later on the weekends, when people sleep in. If you want your posts re-tweeted, between 3-6 p.m. is a fruitful time. Most people during this period are fatigued and less prone to creating original tweets. Facebook ‘Likes’ hit their peak around 8 p.m. in the evening, after people have eaten and are relaxing, and the drama rises around 11 p.m.
As stated by Sue Shellanbarger in the Wall Street Journal,
As difficult as it may be to align schedules with the body clock, it may be worth it to try, because of significant potential health benefits. Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity.
For more information, check out Sue Shellenbarger’s interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Image via ABCNews