Are you a morning person? Or do you function best at night?
For teenagers, science supports the idea that they’re not morning larks – they do better with later school start times and not being forced to function at 7 a.m.
But as we grow older and have children of our own, we often experience a shift in our body clocks and begin to function better in the mornings. Instead of getting revved up at 10 p.m. for a night on the town as we did in our 20s, we’re asleep in the Laz-Z-Boy by 9 p.m.
Lumosity, the company known for online games that claim to boost your brain power, says that it recently decided to look at its users to determine when and how people prefer to train their brains, and how age may figure into the equation of performance and learning.
Lumosity researcher Daniel Sternberg says the results show in a study of 714,188 participants, brain performance peaks at different times of the day depending on the cognitive task you are engaging in.
- On average, people perform better at working memory and attention tasks in the morning, and creative tasks later in the day.
- Night owls may do better completing their critical daily tasks at night when they are most productive, and saving their creative thinking for earlier in the day. For morning people, the opposite holds true – do creative tasks at night and critical tasks in the morning.
In addition, Lumosity finds that most of its participants playing cognitive training games are most likely to train from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Middle-age participants are more likely to train in the evening, he says.
“If you’re a morning person, for example, you need to crunch through your work during the morning when you’re the most focused, then let yourself have those more creative thoughts later in the day,” he says.