124: How 4am Became The Most Productive Time Of Day


There is a meme floating around the internet recently about how 4am has become the most productive time of day, which is very interesting since that time has always been associated with bad things happening – as in “nothing good ever happens after 2am” right?

But I digress. In our ever expanding quest to become more and more productive, more and more competitive and more and more competent than just about everyone else, we are seeing rafts and rafts of content being created about how great it is to get up early in the morning. Everywhere you look, everywhere you turn productivity seems to have become the golden grail. Many electrons are shed, espousing the wonder of getting up earlier and earlier (although none of the articles ever mention what time people are supposed to go to bed in order to support this ungodly wake-up time, but we can figure it out.)

Let’s say that, according to many very intelligent people, both those who really know something about the science and those who don’t, that 4am is the most productive time of the day. Assuming that you will need some time to wake up, freshen up, maybe put on a pot of coffee or something, then you really need to be up at 330am. Let’s also do some research on sleep. Many of these same people, or other well versed in the study of sleep, say that you need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night (since you can’t really make up sleep). If that is the case, then our ultra high performer who wakes up at 330am needs to be asleep by a geriatric 8:30pm. That’s asleep. So let’s say that you need, oh I don’t know, maybe 30 minutes to get to sleep after you get to bed. Which means that you’re ultra high powered, super productive, amazingly prolific executive needs to go beddy-bye at 8pm.