RISE Sleep Tracker
One of Apple's Best Apps of 2024

Get the Most Out of Each Sales Day: Capture Your Peak Performance Windows

Written by
Reviewed by
Salesperson getting ready for peak sales productivity

One minute you’re a sales superhero--blazing through your prospecting list, confidently hitting send on your latest outbound, winning over customers and colleagues alike with your humor and quick-thinking--only to find yourself zombie-ing your way through a routine Zoom call an hour later. Sound familiar? 

If you feel like your sales game is stronger at certain times of day compared to others, it’s not all in your head. It’s your biological programming. We usually feel best in the late morning and then again in the late afternoon, with a window of sluggishness in between. (And if it makes you feel better, it’s universal--even your rockstar boss deals with daily fluctuations in energy, mood, and motivation.)

Though you can’t be “at your best” all the time, you can measurably improve your productivity and resulting sales success by making sure to schedule your most challenging tasks and high-stakes projects for when you’re best equipped to handle them. It’s a matter of familiarizing yourself with your own fluctuations, and planning your days accordingly when you can.

The Circadian Reality

These fluctuations in your energy each day are thanks to your circadian rhythm.

You can think of your circadian rhythm as your own personal internal time-keeping mechanism. While it’s most commonly associated with our sleep and wake preferences, it plays a leading role in our daytime hours as well. 

In addition to regulating your hormones, body temperature, mood, and when you feel like eating, your circadian rhythm also causes your energy levels to peak and dip throughout the day. Here is your day’s energy map at a glance: 

Morning ramp up→morning peak→afternoon dip→afternoon/evening peak→evening wind-down→sleep

These ups and downs have pretty far-reaching effects--it’s not just a matter of feeling a little more pumped during your morning peak or a tad drowsy after lunch. Your energy levels also greatly impact things like focus, memory, creative problem-solving, and your ability to learn new skills, to name a few. 

While there’s nothing you can do to keep your circadian rhythm from roller-coastering, you can make the most of your days (and weeks, and months, etc.) by planning ahead and using your two peaks to their fullest each day. 

Sleep scientists recommend:

- Get bright light first thing: Reset your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle with bright light exposure in the morning. Aim for at least 10 minutes of light as soon as possible after waking up, or 15 to 20 minutes if it's overcast or you’re getting light through a window.

- Avoid light close to bedtime: As well as cool temperatures, you also want darkness to trigger melatonin. Dim the lights and put on blue-light blocking glasses about 90 minutes before bed (we recommend these).

- Avoid caffeine, large meals, intense exercise, and alcohol too late in the day: All four can disrupt your sleep and they can contribute to you being too warm at bedtime. Check RISE for when to avoid each one daily.

Strategizing for “Peak” Performance 

Depending on things like genetics and how much sleep debt we’re lugging around (more on this critical point later), our peaks can last anywhere from 75 minutes to two hours, with the first one typically occurring within an hour or so of noon and the second coming on around 6pm. 

Many sellers will get bogged down responding to emails and taking care of administrative tasks during the first half of their day to “get them out of the way,” and then will try to tackle more focus-intensive work in the afternoon, just as the afternoon dip is scheduled to strike. This, sadly, is a tried and true recipe for underperforming. 

During your peaks you’re going to feel like your most capable, engaged, and clear-headed self--your “best” self. So this means you should be aiming to knock out your most challenging, make-or-break projects during this time. Here are our recommendations for turning your peaks into productivity powerhouses:

Advice from a sleep doctor:

“I recommend my patients avoid screens about an hour before bed. If you do use screens, make sure you use a blue light filter, you’re doing something relaxing, and keep an eye on the time, so you don’t stay up past bedtime. And get as much light exposure during the day to make nighttime light less impactful.”

Rise Science Medical Reviewer Dr. Chester Wu

Morning Peak

During your morning peak, your focus, vigor, and tolerance for stress will be in top form. You’ll also be more emotionally resilient now, so this is a great time to take on tasks that you feel intimidated by. We suggest you:

  • Prospect
  • Make and practice presentations
  • Lead team meetings
  • Create new collateral and/or other deliverables 
  • Call your most difficult, and most important prospects and customers
  • Have tough conversations and 1:1s
  • Hold critical meetings (i.e. those that involve closing or negotiations, or initial meetings where you need to make a good first impression)

Capture your morning peak for early meetings

The period leading into your morning peak is known as sleep inertia, or your grogginess zone. You experience this phenomena each day for ~90 minutes after waking characterized by a chemical buildup in your brain, slower reactions, and that fuzzy feeling. You can take steps to combat sleep inertia, but knowing it occurs every day, and how long it lasts, gives you the power to always be at your best for that early call or meeting. Here’s how:

Situation: That target account you’ve been pursuing finally agrees to a call, but they are giving you 30 minutes at 7:30am.

Your approach: Wake up at 6am at the latest, probably better 5:30-5:45am. While this may make for an early morning, you’ll work through your groggy period naturally and be starting, or into, your morning peak to ensure your mental, physical, and emotional faculties are full go. As a rule, allow 90 minutes, but ideally 120 minutes, between wake and when you need to be “on”.

We suggest getting to bed a bit earlier the night before too to make the wake-up easier, and so as not to build up sleep debt. A short mid-day nap can be helpful and make up for the early wake.

RISE app screenshot showing times when energy is at peak
To check today's peak, pull up your energy schedule by tapping the Energy tab. Your peak is highlighted in purple.
RISE app screenshot showing morning peak
Once you've located today's peak on your energy schedule, tap the purple box for more information like time of peak relative to yesterday, duration and suggestions on how to make the most of this time.

Evening Peak

Your alertness is back up, and may even be higher during this second peak. While tying up loose ends from the workday is a good use of this time, we strongly recommend investing part of this second peak in your relationships and personal life. Not only is it good for you mentally, emotionally, and physically to take a meaningful break from work each day, but a healthy work-life balance makes you a better seller.

While still on the clock, this is a great time to: 

  • Set yourself up so you can hit the ground running during your morning peak the next day--begin something new (same rules apply as for your morning peak!) and leave it in a place where you’ll be excited to pick it back up again  
  • Put the final touches on an important work-related project--you’ll have what it takes to finish strong!
  • Get a final important call or two in

Once work is done, we suggest you:

  • Channel your remaining energy into a passion project or hobby
  • Work on personal and/or home to-dos
  • Exercise! Your body temperature is at its highest now, and can push you to new heights of physical performance (most world records are broken in this window)
  • Spend quality time with loved ones--meet friends for happy hour, cook dinner with your partner, help your kids with their homework, Facetime with your long-distance best friend, etc. … whatever feels good to you! 
Tip What to do
Take breaks and stretch Stand up, move, and stretch throughout the day to maintain energy levels and reduce muscle tension.
Try power napping Take short, 10-20 minute power naps during the day to recharge your energy levels.
Explore natural energy boosters Consider herbal supplements like ginseng, ashwagandha, or rhodiola for an energy boost without caffeine.
Use aromatherapy Diffuse energizing essential oils, such as peppermint, citrus, or rosemary, to help increase alertness and focus.
Socialize Connect with friends, family, or coworkers to boost your mood and energy levels.
Practice mindfulness Incorporate mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing or body scans, to reduce stress and increase mental focus.

A Sleep Debt PSA

In addition to peak length, mentioned above, sleep debt also seriously impacts your energetic potential during your peaks. In other words, the more well-rested you are, the higher your highs will be. And, conversely, if you owe yourself a lot of sleep these peak periods will be significantly less potent. 

We encourage you to keep your sleep debt low by prioritizing consistent early bedtimes and practicing good sleep hygiene, so you can be sure that your peaks will reach their own peak potential each day.

Pinning Down Your Peaks

Your circadian rhythm is as unique as your fingerprint, but unlike your fingerprint your rhythm is dynamic, meaning it changes slightly from day to day, depending on the duration and timing of your sleep, existing sleep debt, exposure to sunlight, etc. 

While this is intuitive to some extent (you know when you feel good, and when you feel like taking a nap), RISE can be an invaluable tool that eliminates the guesswork entirely so that you can plan ahead and act with confidence. 


About Our Editorial Team

Written by
Reviewed by
Our Editorial Standards
We bring sleep research out of the lab and into your life. Every post begins with peer-reviewed studies — not third-party sources — to make sure we only share advice that can be defended to a room full of sleep scientists.
Learn more
Updated Regularly
We regularly update our articles to explain the latest research and shifts in scientific consensus in a simple and actionable way.

Sleep better. Sell more.

Learn more about Rise for sales teams.

Thanks! We received your information. You'll hear from us shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
About Rise
Rise is the only app that unlocks the real-world benefits of better sleep.

Instead of just promising a better night, we use 100 years of sleep science to help you pay down sleep debt and take advantage of your circadian rhythm to be your best.

Over the past decade, we've helped professional athletes, startups, and Fortune 500s improve their sleep to measurably win more in the real-world scenarios that matter most.

Rise Science is backed by True Ventures, Freestyle Capital, and High Alpha; investors behind category winners Fitbit, Peloton, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Sales Success

View all
Try 7 days free

The power behind your next best day

RISE makes it easy to improve your sleep and daily energy to reach your potential

RISE app iconApp store icon