If I was a multi-billionaire instead of just a millionaire, I would never need to work, and so would be able to sleep naturally and wake naturally.
Different people have different periods of the day that are ‘natural’ for them. In my own case, I naturally wake up around 11am and naturally feel tired about 4am. Indeed, I am at my most ‘productive’ and creative from about 10pm until about 2 or 3am. If I am able to do all my work in that pattern, I can get far more done between 10pm and 2am than trying to do it at other times.
Obviously, the world doesn’t allow for people to have different functioning hours. Ages ago I had to be up at 4 in the morning in order to get driven in to work for 5am (for a radio show that ran 6am to 9am). This meant I was sorta working when I should have been sleeping.
In contrast to me, the natural rhythm of my otherwise perfect partner is to be wide awake at about 4 in the morning, and fast asleep around 8pm. Assuming neither of us is on a working ‘shift’ that requires getting up, she will be wide awake, checking the net, buying and ordering things, getting up and doing chores, playing with the cat, and have prepared a huge long list of very complex talking points to hit me with when I show the slightest sign of waking.
If I am physically awake before 11am, my brain is on auto-pilot and dealing with a few of the motor functions. None of the higher functions such as intellect or reason are switched on. Even if I wake up naturally and after 11am, these higher functions are not available for at least an hour. I’m a bit like a mobile phone that’s just been switched on. It’s on, sure, but some of the apps are taking their time to sync and get running properly. That’s me that is.
And yet my partner’s higher functions, her creativity and ability to reason and make decisions is on from the microsecond she wakes.
You’d think this incompatibility would go some way to making us completely incompatible. It doesn’t. It just adds to the charm and bounty of our relationship.
It does make you wonder why different humans have different ‘clocks’, and I can only assume it dates back to when you always needed somebody on guard to keep the fire going and to alert the tribe of incoming lions and predators. Or something.
The bottom line, however, and I think this is something that Google and Facebook maximises in its approach to its workers and their working hours, is how much more would get done if we were to just turn up at work when we were at our own individual cycle’s peak.