One of the most effective strategies for getting more done is simply to wake up earlier. It’s the secret of many successful CEOs, like Apple’s Tim Cook, who gets up at 4:30 in the morning.
But some of us just aren’t morning people, like Flickr’s Caterina Fake, who writes in Bloomberg Businessweek that “my IQ drops 30 per cent to 40 per cent in the early morning.”
There’s actually a genetic variation that makes some people more inclined to wake up early.
There are strategies to overcome that, including skipping caffeine or creating a rigorous morning routine, but Fake has an alternative, unusual sleep schedule that lets her get her work done, fit in 8 hours of sleep, and be up for her daughter at 7 AM:
I worked it out like this: I go to bed really early, around 9 or 10 p.m. I wake in the middle of the night and work for two or three hours. Then I go back to bed and sleep until my daughter wakes up. So I get two or three hours of sleep late at night that are completely uninterrupted. It’s important to sleep. There’s a lot of bravura in business about how little people sleep. I don’t subscribe to that. I’m a big believer in getting eight hours every night, if I can. I just do it in shifts.
People simply work better when they get more sleep. Even the ones who somehow manage on just a few hours a night are either headed for a crash, or are simply doing lower-quality work.
The key might not be to try to contort yourself into a schedule that doesn’t work for you, but to experiment. Sleeping in shifts might seem odd and counterintuitive, but it can help people who struggle to balance work, life, and sleep, to get their 8 hours.
There’s evidence that sleeping in shifts might be natural for humans, and helps regulate stress, so it’s worth a shot.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.