What Is Circadian Rhythm and How it Affects Efficiency

Circadian rhythms are produced naturally in the body and for the most part follow a 24-hour schedule. They regulate the sleep-wake cycle in humans as well as plants and animals. The circadian rhythm is controlled by an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This is what tells us when it is time to sleep and get up by responding to light and darkness.


How to Use Circadian Rhythm to Increase Productivity and Efficiency

Throughout the day most people have times when their energy levels are high and other times when their energy declines. This is regulated by circadian rhythm. In order to use your time more efficiently it is important to understand when these highs and lows will occur.

Generally the first thing in the morning is when energy levels, ability to focus, and productivity are lower. Over the next three to four hours they build up to peak levels. Then they begin to decline again over the next several hours. About six hours after the first peak, the levels will peak again and then begin to decline for the rest of the day. Although the mid-day decline in energy is often blamed on lunch, that is not the reason. This is just a natural occurrence as part of the your circadian rhythm.



Scheduling Tasks Accordingly can Increase Efficiency

Scheduling important tasks during the times when the levels are highest allows people to focus and get things done. The lowest priority tasks should be done when levels are building such as the first thing in the morning and during the second peak of the day. A 2017 planner can be used to schedule the most important tasks during the peak hours.

Are you a Night Owl or an Early Riser?


Everyone's circadian rhythm is not the same. They can vary according to whether you are an early riser or a night owl. The variances in the circadian rhythms are called chronotypes. If you are a night owl trying to work an early morning shift, you are not going to be alert and have the energy that an early riser will have. The result is an unproductive day. If people work schedules that match their circadian rhythms, this is one of the best ways to increase efficiency and productivity.


Can Circadian Rhythms be Adjusted?

Sometimes people develop circadian rhythm disorders. This can wreak havoc with work and their lifestyle. There are treatments that can help to adjust the rhythm to a person's lifestyle. Using chronotherapy is an option. This is when the bedtime is adjusted by degrees over a period of time until they are able to go to sleep at the time preferred.

There are other types of therapy that may help but one way of achieving optimum performance is to plan your day while keeping in mind your circadian rhythm. Employers should take note of this to help them schedule employees, particularly in workplaces with two shifts. This is one of the best ways to ensure that deadlines are getting met and the work is getting completed. It also helps to reduce frustration for employees who want to do the work but are having a hard time finding the energy to complete their tasks.

STARTplanner