“For example, based on circadian rhythms, about 75% of people tend to be most mentally alert between 9am and 11am.”
Circadian rhythms are our internal clocks that tell our bodies when to get up, eat and sleep throughout 24-hour cycles. Many studies have found that work which syncs with our circadian rhythms results in greater productivity and less fatigue. Even space agency Nasa has monitored circadian rhythms to improve astronauts’ productivity and health.
“Once someone gets into work they likely take some time to check emails and settle in,” Trougakos says. “Then it takes time to become immersed in whatever task they are working on. So 11am as a peak productivity time for task completion makes sense.”
The afternoon between 2-3pm marks a low energy point. “This makes sense why many cultures take naps during the afternoon,” he says.
When our minds are sharpest
As for the findings in regard to days, seasons and months? Those check out too, experts say.
The findings “are consistent with considerable research on the ebbs and flows of mental acuity,” says Don Drummond, economist and adjunct professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.