ultradian rhythm

Time for coffee yet?

Photo by bgton/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by bgton/iStock / Getty Images

 How do you like your coffee? I like mine, black, with no sugar. I love everything about it - the aroma, the color, the taste, and especially its warmth. It doesn't matter how you take yours, the truth is, we've all come to depend on it, to get us through the day. I'm not talking about the one to two cups we need first thing in the morning - I'm talking about that craving we get later in the day. 

As it turns out, dreaming about coffee or food or anything other than the work at hand is the body's way of telling us, that the brain is slowing down. We turn to caffeine or food as a way to beat that slump. But do we really need to add calories to wake the brain? Or should we just get smart about it? The answer lies in the groundbreaking research by sleep scientist Nathaniel Kleitman and his discovery of the Ultradian Rhythm. 

Artwork by Roan Varghese

Artwork by Roan Varghese

The Ultradian Rhythm or the Basic Rest Activity Cycle (BRAC) is a cycle that moves from high performance to low performance over 90-120 minutes. When we feel alert and focused, we are riding the high energy wave around the 70 - 100 minute mark. This high energy is followed by a slowing down in the last 20 minutes that makes us distracted and unproductive. Once we pass the slump, we feel the energy starting to climb back up again. 

How does this impact you?

  • 68 % employees are not actively engaged in their work, according to Gallup poll 2016
  • working non-stop leads to stress and inefficiency
  • the period between the waves of high-performance is vital for creativity 

What can you do about it?

The solution to beat the upward downward cycle, according to experts, is to alternate between tasks that need the most attention with activities that are less taxing on the brain. In other words, relaxing for 20-min between the waves of high performance makes you more productive, than if you ignored the dip in energy and plowed through.

Nap pods, yoga rooms and puzzle stations are fast becoming trends at the workplace to help employees stay focused, more efficient, and less anxious.

How can we help?

At ArtPropel, we understand rest and rejuvenation are vital for peak performance. Our one-of-a-kind workshops in Drawing, Music and Improv combines team-building with rejuvenation giving employees the break they need to maintain workplace efficiency, optimize productivity, build community, spark creativity, boost morale and thereby keep coffee/ food cravings at bay!

 For ideas on improving productivity, sparking creativity or inspiring teams in your organization sign-up here .