Science has now confirmed what many of us already know: starting work before 10 a.m. is torture. According to an Oxford University clinical researcher, starting work before 10 a.m. is causing employees to be ill, fatigued, and stressed.
Before the age of 55, our circadian rhythms are out of sync with standard nine-to-five work hours, which pose a dangerous threat to your performance, mood, and mental health.
Dr. Paul Kelley, of Oxford University, believes there’s a need for society to change the standard work and school start times to fall in line with the human body’s natural clock.
Based on experiments studying circadian rhythms, the average 10-year-old will not focus on academic work prior to 8:30 a.m., while a 16-year-old should begin school at 10 a.m. for optimal performance. University students should start the day no earlier than 11 a.m. Dr. Kelley believed that moving school start times could increase grades by 10%. This may sound like speculation but Dr. Kelley was once a head teacher in Tyenside where he changed the class start time to 10 a.m. from 8:30 a.m., and saw the number of top grades rise by 19%.
Dr. Kelley sees this as a large societal issue, suggesting that employees and students should not be working before 10 a.m.
Companies who expect employees to be in prior to 10 a.m. might be hurting their overall performance. “Staff are usually sleep deprived. We’ve got a sleep deprived society. It is hugely damaging on the body’s systems because you are affecting physical emotional and performance systems in the body,” says Dr. Kelley.
Sleep deprivation is a proven culprit of decaying health. With less than six hours of sleep a night, a study discovered 711 changes in how genes function. The answer isn’t to sleep earlier but rather, to wake up later.
The research is there, but will employers make a change?