The Best Time To Work When You’re Sleep-Deprived

The Best Time To Work When You’re Sleep-Deprived

You had a light night of sleep and you know the next day is going to be rough. You’ll likely be dragging all day, but there is still a small window of time when you’ll be most alert that you can take advantage of.

Photo by Lindsey Turner

Melissa Dahl at NYMag blog Science of Us talked sleep deprivation with Professor Orfeu Buxton from the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dahl navigates an average day of being sleep deprived with Buxton and explains why the best time to do your tough tasks is early in the day:

You will want to procrastinate your creative work in favour of your busy work, telling yourself that you’ll get to the thinky stuff after you’ve had some time to wake up. Again: Resist this urge… Because, unfortunately, this is it; it’s the most alert you’ll be all day. Best take advantage of it, because it’s a very small window for the sleep-deprived brain, opening about one hour after waking and closing two hours later.

That’s all you get before your brain starts dropping out on you. Buxton likens it to being low on fuel. Once you’re out of the energy that allows you to be alert, it’s gone, and you have to run on fumes the rest of the day. For example, if you woke up at 7am, that time period starts around 8am and ends at around 10am. That’s not very long, and it will go by fast, so save your busy work for later in the day when you can go on autopilot and your brain needs less energy. For more tips on how to survive a sleep-deprived day, check out the full article at the link below.

How to Get Through a Workday on No Sleep [NYMag via Popular Science]