Every person wakes up at different times, studies or works at various times according to their preference. However, when is the most effective time to study and work during the day? Every person has their inner cycle of sleeping and waking up, which is also known as the circadian rhythm.
At the same time, this inner rhythm affects the person’s body temperature, hormones, cognition, mood, etc. People who wake up early are known as early birds, while those who wake up later and sleep later are known as night owls. To put it simply, people who are known as early birds have their arousal peak much earlier than people who are known as night owls. They are better at tasks that require analytical intelligence and memory performance (Jun et al., 2019). While night owls can perform longer, people who have already gotten up early get tired and cannot perform analytical tasks (Jun et al., 2019). On the other hand, the creativity of these individuals (both the people who wake up early and those who wake up late) is lowest when their arousal is at its peak. On the other hand, when this arousal gets lower, their creativity increases (Jun et al., 2019). Therefore, if one wants to engage in creative tasks, then they should probably wait for the arousal to get lower. Different tasks require different times for studying or working. This is also applicable to students and schoolwork. It is normal for people who get up earlier to get tired more quickly because their sleep pressure is greater than that of people who wake up late since more time has passed for the early birds who have woken up earlier compared to night owls who have woken up much later. The significant point is when and how much the person feels alert and aroused at that time, which differs for every person because the time people use for sleeping is different due to their subjective sleepiness needs. The time people wake up or sleep does not differ very much in terms of their circadian rhythm. What does differ is how much sleep one needs in a day. This also changes the time that people feel more alert and aroused.
Everyone has a circadian rhythm and it affects people’s work and study preferences, along with sleeping patterns and mood. However, is there any way to change these routines and the circadian rhythm of the body, as some might think? In an experiment, this was investigated for several months with four male subjects (Monk et al., 1989).
It was found that their cycle was determined by biological forces. However, it is possible to change the state a person is in. For example, according to the author's experience, his favourite time to study is in the morning (Rampton Productivity Monday, 2018), because it is really quiet. He feels more relaxed and able to focus on what he wants to do. Therefore, the important thing to study is the state that people are in. The circadian rhythm and biological needs of the human body are important, but they are not the only things that determine one’s study times. The productiveness of the work is more related to the state the person is in. Feeling more relaxed and being away from stress results in better outcomes as well as happiness. In one study, the relationship between the productivity of workers and their emotional states was investigated (Kadoya et al., 2020).
Happiness is correlated with productivity. This study demonstrates the importance of emotions and the state a person is in. Therefore, the best time to study is when the person feels the happiest, which will result in more productive work. The research investigates how stress and productivity are related to each other (Adaramola, 2012). On the job, stress decreases one’s abilities due to both mental and emotional pressures. These pressures also result in a decrease in one’s performance and productivity. If the stress level of one person is higher in the mornings, then they should study in the evenings or at night to increase their efficiency and productivity. Moreover, if a person feels very good in an emotional state, such as being highly motivated and satisfied, then he or she will be more productive even after ten hours of work compared to someone who has a negative emotional state at that moment (Matuliauskaitė & Žemeckytė, 2011). The emotional state of people can change because of the conditions in the workplace as well. Research has been conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this research, researchers investigated employees’ beliefs about remote working (Howe & Menges, 2021). People who perceive remote working as not a learnable skill have more negative emotions about the work, therefore their productivity was significantly less compared to others (Howe & Menges, 2021). The time when one feels energetic, relaxed, and happy is the best time for them to study because this state of mind will result in better work in terms of efficiency, productivity, and performance. Like Edison has said, "Time is the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can't afford to lose". By focusing on the state one is in, they can use the time more efficiently and not waste unproductive time. It is important to be aware of one’s circadian rhythm and how it affects the body while considering the significance of sleep pressure. Getting up early would not work for everyone, just like staying up at 3 am would not work for everyone either. The important thing is not deciding the time, but instead, the emotional state the person has is more important. The reason is that an emotional state such as being happy, energetic, relaxed, and not stressed results in a more efficient working time. This time is also more productive, and people have higher performance compared to their lower emotional state. Therefore, knowing the time that the person feels the best is more important than being an early bird or night owl. According to these points, this article hypothesises that the emotional state of people affects the work productivity of people more than the time of day.
This Blog on 'Managing Productivity through Sleep and Emotions' has been contributed by Abhinav Rai.
Abhinav has completed his undergraduate from Delhi University, Hindu College in English Literature. He loves to research and write about everything from seemingly trivial ideas to broad larger-than-life concepts that transcend human grasp. He finds linguistics and psychology incredibly fascinating and wishes to continue research in these fields. He is a wallflower that often builds his bridge to the world through words, metaphors, and interpretations. He is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.