Sleep On The Job
Those 5am meditation sessions may look good on Insta, but they’re doing little for your productivity, explains Professor Jim Horne, author of Sleeplessness
“Weekend lie-ins, afternoon naps – whenever you catch your shuteye, a few extra hours of sleep can be even more beneficial to your productivity than early starts.
“Not all of us are built for mornings. The circadian body clock varies from person to person, with variations in the timing of its daily peaks and troughs. As such, some of us are ‘larks’ and at our best in the AM, and plenty of others are ‘owls’, who don’t peak until later 1 . What’s more, these late sleepers are often better able to adapt to changes in the timing of their sleep, as happens with shift work and jet lag, putting them at a natural advantage 2 .
“We’re told the early bird catches the worm and, in 1735, the American polymath Benjamin Franklin opined, ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’ However, various studies have put this often irritating viewpoint to the test – and failed to support it. Perhaps the most intriguing was a survey of 1300 people published in the BMJ. There was no evidence to show that early risers were any more affluent, and it was those with later sleeping schedules who had higher ongoing incomes. Plus, there were no differences in their cognitive abilities 3 . In short: if you’re worried that the predawners are outperforming you, don’t lose sleep over it.”
In a BMJ study, 29 per cent of people were ‘morning people’, the rest ‘owls’ or no preference.
Sleeping in works! The Uni of Pennsylvania found two extra hours in bed boosts alertness.
A Uni of Madrid study found those who sleep in late score higher on tests monitoring reasoning and general intelligence.