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Most of the time, I stay up late until midnight and do things that I want to complete. However, I get 7-8 hours of sleep a day.

My normal weekday routine is as follows: Wake up at 8am and go to work. Come back home for lunch at 12:30, take a 15-30 min. nap (not always, but makes my afternoon work go more smoothly), eat lunch, and then go back to work. (It is easy for me to eat lunch first and then nap, but I have heart burn and when I woke up I don't feel good.) Then I get back home at 5pm, take a 15 min. nap (I don't do that if I am not tired), eat dinner, and then stay until midnight to do some personal projects and assignments (3-4 hrs).

I heard that instead of staying late at night, it might be better to go to sleep early and woke up early in the morning (4-5) and do my personal projects.

Does the effect differ from person to person or is there a scientifically proven assumption that waking up early in the morning has an effect? How about the effect of doing physical exercises? Since I get tired after exercises, I don't exercise if I do have things to do later.

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3 Answers 3

I think waking early has several benefits, at least psychological. If you wake up early, you'll feel like you're ahead of the people still sleeping and you'll be boosted from the will to do as much as possible before the others wake up! Also, in the morning, your head is not full of the concerns accumulated during the day. Doing things in the morning will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will make you proud all day long. Late work is indeed more effective that daytime work, which does not include morning, because at night you're tired and your body releases something like hormones to make you feel cool and awake, and your tired state makes you concentrate on only one activity, because you can't "multitask" while tired. I also read that sleeping has the greatest quality from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. (or something like that), so fat-morning sessions are more time-wasting. I don't think "A tight deadline before you go to work" if you organize yourself well. If you're doing you work late at night because it's for the following day, it's understandable you prefer to have it done for sure so you can sleep little but without worries than to rely on an early instable wake-up. However, if you do your work a few days before the deadline, you can wake up early.

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Waking up early to work probably gives you

  • A tight deadline before you go to work
  • A clear head allowing you to take a step back and see things from different perspectives
  • Renewed energy

...all of which combine into increased productivity.

I should do this more myself... The disadvantage is that when I do it I often don't go to bed early enough so I end up sleep deprived and prone to crashing later in the day or the next day. That can be mitigated by going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier every day until you reach the desired wakeup time.

I'm going to start doing this :-)

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This is incredibly variable from one person to the next. Your best bet is to identify what you are best at at different times of day and under different circumstances.

As an example:

  • I work at my best on technical, detailed or strategic tasks early in the morning or late at night
  • I am most creative late morning or early evening so tend to write presentations or documentation then
  • My low spot is mid-afternoon, but if I can get a 30 minute siesta I tend to produce much better quality technical material again for a couple of hours
  • Too much sleep ruins my output - 8 hours for me is far too much. I'm better off with 5 hours

Try and vary the amount of sleep you get, and when you get it, to see how your performance changes. Some work environments will not provide a lot of support, but see what you can do to make your life easier.

Try a different routine for a week or so to give it time to bed in, as at first any shake-up of time may just screw up your body clock.

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Thank you for your response. We are almost alike. I work effectively in the morning and latter after 6. As you said, if I get a nap in the mid day, I become better at least. By the way, does changing your sleeping routine every day or two has an effect or problem? –  matiman Jun 6 '12 at 20:21
    
Initially it did mess up my schedule a bit, but after 12 years of having varied schedules every day I have become somewhat inured to it. Start of day now varies anywhere between 4:30 and 7:00 depending on where I am working that day, so I just move other things around accordingly. I don't get siesta very often though... –  Rory Alsop Jun 6 '12 at 20:22

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