Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do "late sleepers" really work worse than "early risers"?

I'm a genuine late sleeper. Since my senior school years (it's ~ 12 years now, wow!) I've been studying / working "shifted hours". Most of this time I've been normally coming to school / university / work by noon. And even in my childhood, can't remember if I ever liked the idea of waking up / going to bed early. My creative powers come to their peak in the evening, while squeezing a fresh idea in the morning is murder.

Meanwhile, I often meet people who -- conciously or not -- judge that one must be an early riser to work truly well. Even in the creative sphere of IT this stereotype is popular. Is there any sane psychological ground for it? Or maybe it's just legacy of those times when people had to wake up early to do all the job during daylight?


Boris said...

Well, it's easy to be perfectly creative in early morning. There are three pretty simple explanations of the effect.
In a morning you are not guilt of your waking up too late. And you feel yourself more competivive, like you get a kind of handikap in the front of others and in the front of time pressure. And - last but not least - there are not so much time-eaters at your workplace in the morning: no events, no calls... So, it's more easy to be productive in the morning.

If you wanna walk in early riser's shoes a bit, you can try Steve Pavlina's famous article: . I think this would help you, as long as you're able to get yourself to wake up in the same hour several times in a row (he recommends 30 days).

Not my case, unfortunately. I am beyond praying, always sleeping away the second day... :(((

Elena Shebunyaeva said...

Hey, don't worry about your "second day" failure! I guess, you haven't simply found enough motivation to become an early riser (just like me).

Anyway, many thanks for the lead-in! Steve's experience is truly inspiring.

But early rising is not the only thing I liked about his strategy. Steve actually suggests a nice way for organizing sleep time and increasing personal productivity. But is early rising a "must" here? I still doubt that waking up at 5:00 is any better for personal productivity than sleeping till 10:00 if you make say 7 hours of sleep in either case.

An important note: I'm not nagging just to nag! Changing a set life schedule is real pain. So, I'm trying to realize if I'm loosing something grand with my present late sleeping. The only real losses I know are sunrise watching and occasional problems with visiting early-closing public places.

Your three explanations for why a person can be productive in early morning are great! But they do not make solid pro's for early rising. :-( Feeling guiltly or handicapped if you work late -- well, this seems too subjective to be a strong argument... As for office time-eaters, they're gone in the evening just like they're not here early in the morning.

Yet I know two early rising con's that seriously undermine my enthusiasm to move this way. These are: going to work with a flood of people and loosing time in shop queues.

I can't find early rising discussed in Steve Pavlina's blog. Maybe you'll share some more thoughts / links on this topic.


Boris said...

Ah, now I see, you are considering a "wake up early like a normal people do" thing. :) But not waking up earlier than other people. Well, the single mention of morning rush hours makes me sick. I think this is not very good idea (for Moscow at least) to live in clash with the main people's body...

To your question: I don't know, whether early risers work better in general. I guess only that my early morning's work usually is most productive. If I only get through the start.

Still, I suppose that instead of europian "analyse-thoroughly-then-make-a-Big-Plan-then-stick-with-it-forever" approach you'd better choose american "try-and-see" approach. This is what Steve Pavlina recommends too:

The method is easy and non-biding. I used it once (not for early rising), it works. Try to get up early in 30 days, get your experience about it and then decide whether it pays enough to keep stuck with your new habit. After all, you and your experience are unique.


Elena Shebunyaeva said...

Huh, your comments and Steve's posts are making my understanding of all this early-rising fuss significantly broader and streamlined.

The "try and see" thing sounds good. Needa try and see indeed... :-)

Thankies for support and advice!