Does anyone have their new year’s resolutions figured out yet? I don’t, and I rarely stick with resolutions anyway, but I like to read self-help books around December and January because I find that’s when an inner focus is really necessary. The Power of When by Michael Breus, PhD is a really fascinating read. And as I was working my way through it, I spoke to a few different people about its basic premise, and everyone seemed really intrigued-so obviously a review is in order!
It’s basically a book about discovering your chronotype (click on this link and determine which one you are!) and then determining the best time of day to complete your activities: waking up, eating, exercising, problem-solving at work, going to bed, etc. The idea is that there are four different kinds of people (loosely based on your sleeping habits and how much sleep you feel you need to be productive), and each kind of person is alert at different times of day, therefore your schedule should revolve these natural bursts of energy, ensuring your most important tasks are completed when you are at your best. It’s an interesting idea, and best of all, it makes common sense! For example, I have one friend who loves to get up early every day, in fact she can’t stay asleep past 8am, even when hungover (yes Megan, I’m talking about you!). Obviously she is most productive in the morning and early afternoon, therefore she should avoid tasks that require concentration in the evening, because she’s tired earlier in the day than others.
Some may think that’s an obvious point to make, but Breus gives other, very handy tips in this book. He advises when we should eat protein vs. carbs to boost our energy at certain points, when to have a hot shower vs. cold shower, and when to take certain medical tests to show the most accurate results. Apparently sleep is his speciality, which seems to be an issue for many, so his tips of ‘powering down’ for the night are useful, as are his breathing exercises to help you fall asleep faster.
The downside to this book is that there is quite a bit of repetition. In fact, it seemed like Breus was re-using findings from some of the exact same studies over and over again. I’m not sure why something like this wasn’t pointed out earlier by his editors (mind you, I was reviewing the advanced reading copy, so some of this could have changed). I also read the entire book, cover to cover which many people won’t do. Once you determine which chronotype you are (Bear, Wolf, Dolphin or Lion) you can simply skip to the relevant sections you care about, so I may not be the ideal reader for something like this. But I’m the type of person that can’t just read part of a book; I feel as though I need to read every single page, and I suspect most book reviewers feel the same way. So, is this a worthwhile read? Definitely, in fact, its something you’d probably like to keep around and refer back to when you find yourself faced with a new task that you really want to succeed at. If you complete said task during your ultimate ‘bio-time’, you’re guaranteed to perform better than usual, and who doesn’t want that?