If you’ve ever tried getting up an hour earlier in the morning and ended up hitting snooze instead, don’t be too hard on yourself. At first glance, this advice might seem counterintuitive; it’s true that early risers certainly seem to get more done in the day. Plus, all the most successful people in the world do it, right?
Not so fast. According to a growing body of research, getting a consistent amount of Zzz’s is the only requirement for a boost in your productivity.
How do we know? Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital tracked the sleep patterns of 61 full-time students at Harvard College for 30 days. Although all of the students slept for about the same amount of time, those went to bed and woke up at different times during the week tended to perform worse in their classes than those who stuck to the same sleep routine.
‘Our results indicate that going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time is as important as the number of hours one sleeps,’ lead author Andrew J.K. Phillips, a biophysicist at Brigham and Women’s, said in a statement.
And this isn’t the first time science has justified your morning snooze habit. This spring, researchers at Baylor University conducted a similar study of bedtime habits of interior design students. What they found was no surprise: The more irregular the students’ sleep schedule, the worse they performed throughout the week.
‘Sleep is a part of a larger system of biological rhythms that regulate everything from brain function to muscle repair,’ Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, said. ‘The more variable your sleep schedule, the more these systems are not working optimally together.’
Makes sense, right? Capitalizing on your productivity doesn’t mean you have to stick to a specific wake-up time. Instead, listen to your body to determine when you should get to bed (and wake up!) You’re almost guaranteed to have a productive, stress-free workday once you get to the office.
So if ‘rising and shining’ sounds like torture to you, take a cue from your body and hit the snooze button tomorrow. (It might even mean you’re more intelligent.)