For those who head to work feeling they could benefit from an extra hour’s kip – this Oxford academic has your back.
Dr Paul Kelley has likened typical 9-5 working shifts to “torture” and said that they could pose a “serious threat” to employee health.
He says that prior to turning 55 years of age, the typical adult’s circadian rhythms are out of sync with normal working hours. This can have a knock-on effect on productivity, mood and can even make employees feel ill or stressed.
Dr Kelley believes there’s now a huge need to change the way society works, particularly in terms of what time work and school begins, so that we can give our body clocks a fighting chance.
“This is a huge society issue. Staff should start at 10am. We’ve got a sleep-deprived society,” said Dr Kelley.
“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.”
According to the NHS, one in three people suffer from poor sleep.
Effects of sleep deprivation can range from negative processing of emotions to a change in the way that people make decisions.
“Sleep is a requirement just like food. Good quality sleep ensures your mental and physical health remains optimal,” Dr Nazim Nathani from the London Sleep Centre previously told HuffPost UK Lifestyle. “Lack of sleep has been attributed to hopelessness, memory problems and irritability.”
Long-term health outcomes from chronic sleep deprivation include obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.
Dr Kelley said that “everybody is suffering and they don’t have to”. He believes that changes need to be made to the typical working day, particularly in terms of start time.
He also said this needs to be applied to all aspects of society, including hospitals and prisons.
“They wake up people and give people food they don’t want,” he said. “You’re more biddable because you’re totally out of it.
“Sleep deprivation is a torture.”