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Best Times to Be Creative

The January 16th issue of TIME magazine has a major section on “How to Sharpen Your Mind.”

One of the key articles explores the best times of day for both “Morning People” and “Night Owls” to create, problem solve, rejuvinate and rest. I’ve re-worked the graphics presented in TIME for this post.

For the Morning Person
TIME says, for the early riser, “creativity generally peaks early in the wake cycle before distractions can impede the brain’s imaginative focus.”

Morning Person

For the Night Owl
The most productive time for Night Owls is “long after they’ve shaken off morning groginess.” While working past midnight can be effective, experts agree “sleeping less than the optimal eight hours can impair cognitive performance.”

Night Owl


  • Low Concentration
  • – the body’s clock shifts, lowering concentration.

  • Creativity – best time for brainstorming and open-ended thinking. Before the brain is flooded with the day’s stimuli.
  • Problem Solving – The brain is warmed up and at its peak for activities from analysis to memorization.
  • Rejuvination – ‘To stay sharp, experts suggest refreshing the mind with daily exercise and brain-building activities like reading, artistic exploration and puzzle solving.’

Check out Michael Kaplans “The Best Time to Do Everything”… TIME references this book in the article.

For more, pick up this issue of TIME.

Download PDF
  1. Mr. Whoo
    Mr. WhooFebruary 10,12

    This is BS. A real “evening person” does NOT wake up at 8am! We get to sleep at that time. Most definitely not because we’re out or partying or whatever, but because we physically and mentally CANNOT get to sleep during the night time. SO… this schedule is completely wrong for a “night owl”. Night owls, are active throughout the entire night, just as we are.
    – The Human Night Owls xx

  2. Deeae
    DeeaeMarch 1,12

    This is SO NOT bs! I appreciate the acknowledgment and recognition. I am an evening person who needs to pay my rent so must work at a “regular” job to earn enough. (Note: As is, I still live on the deficit side of the poverty line.) I MUST get up at the torturous hour of 6 a.m.(when I am FINALLY falling into deep sleep!) to ensure I arrive at work by 8. I have truly NEVER functioned at any such job (or even in school) before noon. Then my brain kicks in and I go until 11 p.m. or even midnight with ease. I dream of when I can get out of the dominant society built exclusively and definitively around the morning person (that begins in daycare then grade school)with its counterintuitive structure, process and (no surprise) rhythm – and get into the healthier (for me and my kin) societies that are integrated enough with the larger society that I can actually earn enough to be self sustaining – not to mention be legitimate on my own and not regarded as “irresponsible” or morally deficient for (almost)always being late. It is a heruclean task to just show up at such an ungodly hour! I doubt morning people would be very successful if they were expected to function outside of their element; and I don’t think they’d be judged for it – though maybe pitied.

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