Whether it’s flying or standing still, there’s no question that time plays a vital role your daily life. Science—and the world around us—shows it: Medicine can be four to five times more effective in the early morning, alcohol has a greater effect on your ability to drive at 12 a.m. than 6 p.m., and more Olympic records are set in the evening hours than in the morning when body temperatures are higher and muscles are more limber.
Virtually anything you do has a different bodily effect depending on when you do it, says Matthew Edlund, M.D., and director of the Center for Circadian Medicine. That’s because playing to the strengths of your circadian rhythm—or your body’s natural clock—can boost your performance.
The problem: “Modern life makes it harder for us to stay on the rhythmic schedule our bodies are naturally meant to follow,” says Steve Kay, Ph.D., a geneticist and professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California. One way today’s tech disrupts sleep: Using your smartphone before bed. A recent study at Michigan State University showed that using a smartphone after 9 p.m. cut into sleep time and participants were more tired at work the next day.
The good news? You can harness the power of time by tuning in to your natural biological clocks, Kay says. Follow this schedule to ensure your most productive workday yet.