What Is the Ultradian Rhythm and How Does It Affect You

What Is the Ultradian Rhythm and How Does It Affect You


The 24-hour day is punctuated by recurrent physiological cycles known as ultradian rhythms.

Although the phrase "ultradian rhythm" may sound complicated, the idea is straightforward. To reduce weariness and boost productivity, working with your ultradian rhythm entails adhering to your body's natural work/rest cycles.

What Do Ultradian Rhythms Actually Mean?

Ultradian rhythms are the biological cycles that occur in your body every 24 hours and include things like digestion, blinking, and the pulse

Ultradian rhythms are shorter and repeated throughout the same 24-hour period as the more well-known "circadian rhythm," which happens over a longer duration.

During the first part of the cycle, physiological measures such as heart rate, hormone levels, muscle tension, and brain-wave activity all increase—and so does attentiveness. After roughly an hour, these readings start to decline. The body starts to yearn for a period of rest and recuperation between 90 and 120 minutes.

In other words, we typically operate at our optimum after working for about 90 minutes and then resting for about 20 minutes.

Instead of forcing things and always "grinding" through the day, you sync your work habits with your innate routines.

Maintaining ultradian rhythms makes sure that you work in harmony with the day's natural ebb and flow of energy.

Why Is It Beneficial to Follow Ultradian Rhythms?

This routine is essential for reducing weariness and raising productivity. You may accomplish more things while using it. The process is more fluid when you follow your body's natural energy levels as opposed to trying to force productivity and get work done. Consider it as swimming downstream as opposed to against the rivers current. In turn, this makes it much simpler to enter a state of flow, or being "in the zone." You take a break once you've reached your productivity ceiling to avoid becoming fatigued.

In this manner, you can avoid experiencing fatigue and maintain high levels of performance.

As a result, you may put your all into it and work faster and more efficiently.

How to Plan Your Day to Complement Ultradian Rhythms

This is a plain and easy matter. Simply adhere to the 90/20 rule, which states that you should work for 90 minutes and then take a 20-minute break to unwind and refuel.

Follow the same procedure as before, working for another 90 minutes before taking another 20-minute rest. This is the essence of basing your day on your body's natural energy cycles and adhering to ultradian rhythms. It all comes down to concentrating your energies during "productive blocks" for optimum focus and allowing yourself periodic "chill out time" during ebbs. Just that one thing has the potential to significantly affect your productivity.

Just keep in mind that we're not machines, so you should keep an eye on how you feel before determining how long to rest for.

It's wise to take a break if, for instance, after 82 minutes you start to feel fatigued and your focus is waning. This is a sign that you have reached the lowest point in your ultradian rhythm cycle. The trick is to be conscious of your energy and performance until this routine becomes automatic. The first step in adopting ultradian rhythms is to do that. You can also consult a Counselling Psychologist to help you navigate this process. Search for a Psychologist in delhi or Online counselling depending on whichever format you prefer and get the help you require.

Identifying Your Best Periods of Productivity

The next stage is to adjust your schedule to take into account your own individual productivity peaks. This can be done by self-evaluating at various points during the day.

Consider the scenario where your workday starts at 9 a.m.

At the following times, you could evaluate your performance and level of energy:

  • 11 am

  • 1 pm

  • 3 pm

  • 5 pm

Even while you probably already have a very decent notion of the times of day when you're most productive, keeping track of your mood at each of these intervals will provide you even more nuanced schedule-enhancing information.

You should plan your day so that your ultradian rhythms are in harmony with these periods if you find that your energy and performance naturally peak between 11 am and 3 pm.

In this situation, you should begin one work session at roughly 10:15 am, during which you should concentrate on your most crucial duties in order to reach your peak at 11 am.

Then, at about 11:45 a.m., take a rest.

You should start at roughly 2:15 pm for your second main work session, where you take care of important duties, to reach your peak at 3 pm.

Then, around about 3:45 pm, take a rest.

You'll need to go through a little bit of trial and error, but with enough testing, you'll be able to thoroughly optimise your day for significant productivity increases.

Decrease Distractions

Limiting distractions during times of high focus is the final piece of this puzzle. The last thing you want is for a concentrate session where you're working hard to complete a crucial assignment to be sidetracked by distractions because these are huge productivity drainers. Additionally, you should avoid context switching, which is when you jump from one unrelated job to another, as this can reduce your productivity by as much as 80%.

Let Your Notifications Cool Off

Instantaneous communication with coworkers and clients located anywhere in the world is convenient and can undoubtedly enhance teamwork.

However, when notifications become excessive and you start receiving alerts for even the simplest activity, it can become a double-edged sword.

Put Your Phone Away.

It would be an understatement to say that people are addicted to their smartphones. People check their phones a startling 150 times every day; according to the report. It goes without saying that this can hinder productivity. Just picture yourself in a state of flow; near the peak of an ultradian rhythm cycle, completely concentrated on a task when suddenly, you receive a text. Your concentration is immediately disrupted by this, forcing you to refocus on what you're doing. Your productivity may immediately decline if this occurs repeatedly throughout the day.

Therefore, if it's possible, I advise putting your phone away completely during a demanding session that calls for your complete focus. Once more, you can inspect it after you're finished and attend to any issues that arise.

Additionally, you may schedule an appointment with the top professional psychologists and receive Mental health counseling at the Psychowellness Centre, which has many locations in Delhi NCR, NOIDA, Faridabad, Janakpuri, Dwarka, and Vasant Vihar.

Contribution: Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist, life coach & mentor TalktoAngel & Mr. Varshini Nayyar, Psychologist.