Are you finding yourself go through constant highs of energy and productivity followed by the lows of feeling sluggish and distracted? Don’t beat yourself up about it! That’s normal and it is referred to as the ultradian rhythm! The more you understand this naturally occurring process, the better you can implement strategies within yourself and your organization to maximize performance, safety and general well-being!
UNDERSTANDING THE ULTRADIAN RHYTHM
Many of us have heard of the circadian rhythm but have you ever heard of the ultradian rhythm? It is a recurrent period or cycle repeated throughout a 24-hour day. They are measurable, observable, quantifiable physiological patterns that your body must maintain in order to operate properly. Their primary purpose is to manage the cycles of energy production, output, and recovery that occur in all humans.
Each cycle consists of 90 minutes of performance with 20minutes of recovery needed.
Here is how they work:
3. Within approximately 90 minutes, you reach the apex of productivity, entering the “ultradian performance peak”.
OPTIMIZING THE “ULTRADIAN TROUGH”
As an employer, it can provide immense benefits to encourage your employees to take advantage of the 20-minute ultradian trough to reset, refresh and refocus through a purposeful break. You might be thinking “that’s great but carving out that much time within everyone’s workday is not possible or realistic”. But, if you are serious about helping your employees improve their health, energy, productivity, safety and mental well-being, then you will encourage your employees to take these breaks!
What happens if employees skip these break period and “power through”? Research shows that if we do that, our energy and focus will eventually crawl out of the ultradian trough and return to a somewhat higher level of functioning - but not nearly as high as before. After a missed break, our next ultradian performance peak will be much lower than our previous one. And if employees continue to work through those 20-minute break periods, their performance will continue to decrease, they will be working well below their potential and their body and mind will feel sluggish.
So, what can we do about it?
o It’s an amazing break in their day
o They need that reminder to get up and move and recharge
o They feel more energized after it
o They are more focused and productive for the time following these sessions
o They help with their stress levels
Want to learn more about energy optimization and improving your organization’s performance, morale and well-being? Tune in to Med-I-Well’s FREE webinar on June 29th at 10:30 am where Kristina van Lankvelt, our Director of Wellness and Certified Professional Life Coach, will provide more tips and strategies focused on the topic.