Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

Chill out, said the New York Times this week. Under a headline that shouted ‘Relax! You’ll be more productive’, the article said two things that made me happy. The first is that naps really do work. The second? More than a few hours of serious brain work per day is too much. In the 1950s, researchers discovered that we sleep in ninety minute cycles, going from light to deep sleep and back again. As it turns out, we go through the same cycle during the day, moving from a state of alertness into a state of physiological fatigue every ninety minutes. So to maximise productivity, we should work in ninety minute sessions – ideally, three of them. That’s a grand total of four and half hours. How many hours will you be working today?


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