Science and Tech


Sleep Expert Says Typical Work Day Is 'Torture'

An Oxford University researcher says forcing ourselves to work before 10 a.m. doesn't line up with our bodies' circadian rhythms.
Posted at 9:27 AM, Sep 09, 2015

The standard 9-to-5 workday may be killing us. Well, that's what one Oxford University academic says.

Dr. Paul Kelley is an honorary clinical fellow at Oxford University's Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute. He says normal working hours don't line up with our bodies' circadian rhythms, and as a result, we're putting ourselves at risk. 

"We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms. You cannot learn to get up at a certain time. Your body will be attuned to sunlight, and you’re not conscious of it because it reports to hypothalamus, not sight," Kelley said.

Kelley warns that possible side effects of prolonged sleep deprivation can range from bad decision making to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. (Video via Serta Mattress)

Adults aren't the only ones who should have a later start to the day. Kelley argues that children should start school based on their natural waking habits. For young kids, that's earlier in the morning. For teens, a reasonable start time is around 11 a.m. 

Researchers have of course been studying sleep patterns for years. And for good reason. The National Health Service estimates one in three people suffers from poor sleep.

"I feel tired all the time. OK raise your hand if you feel that way. So many of us do." (Video via CBS)

Kelley says poor sleep is an international issue: "Everyone's suffering and we don't have to."

His solution? Push back workplace start times to 10 a.m. for all workers under age 55. Here's hoping.

This video includes images from Getty Images and Henrique Simplicio / CC BY 2.0Liz Lawley / CC BY-SA 2.0, bedzine / CC BY-SA 2.0