Sleep expert: Typical work day is 'torture'

Sleep Expert Says Typical Work Day Is 'Torture'
Sleep Expert Says Typical Work Day Is 'Torture'

The standard 9-to-5 workday may be killing us, according to one Oxford University academic.

Dr. Paul Kelley, an honorary clinical fellow at Oxford University's Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, 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.

Instead, he proposes pushing back workplace start times to 10 a.m. for all workers under age 55.

But adults aren't the only ones who Kelley says should have a later start to the day.

Children also 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.

Kelley argues that poor sleep is an international issue.

"Everyone's suffering and we don't have to," Kelley said.

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Originally published