Do you consider yourself a morning person or a night person? If you’re a morning person, you probably think that your most creative time of day to solve problems is in the morning–you’re wide away and ready to take on the world. Conversely, if you’re a night person, you might believe that the night time is your most creative time of day to solve problems. However, in both of these instances, you’d be wrong.
Recently published research suggests just the opposite: that morning people are most creative at the worst part of their day–evening, and night people are most creative in the morning. Even though your mind is foggy, your creative abilities are at their highest. The researchers hypothesize that, “Insight-based problem-solving requires a broad, unfocused approach. You’re more likely to achieve that Aha! revelatory moment when your inhibitory brain processes are at their weakest and your thoughts are meandering.”
They tested their theory by recruiting subjects and having having each group perform tasks at their “highest point” and their “lowest point” in the day. Surprisingly, people were able to solve intuition-based problems at a higher percentage at the low point of their day–when they were the groggiest. (Analytic tasks were performed equally well throughout the day). The bottom line for you morning people is to start staying up late, whereas you night people need to start getting up early!
However, if you’re just looking for analytical problems, then your best time is the late morning as your body temperature continues to rise and peak. During this period, up until about the middle of the afternoon, working memory, alertness and concentration improve. Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal with more information about your body’s natural rhythms.