Career

Starting work before 9am is bad for you, say experts

According to a leading sleep expert, those early morning starts are genuinely bad for us.

alarm clocks
alarm clocks

We've all got those friends who claim to leap from bed as soon as the alarm sounds at 6am, go for a run, eat a healthy breakfast, and be at their desk for 8am.

But if you're anything like us, those early starts never seem to get any easier, and we find ourselves pressing the snooze button for a third time and rolling over for a bit more shut eye.

And it seems the general consensus is always that those who rise early get more done, are more efficient and generally better at life than their slothful colleagues. The early bird catcheth the worm, and all that.

But a leading sleep expert from the UK has now cast doubt over this assumption, by suggesting that getting to work before 9 is actually bad for us, and can lead to decreased productivity.

Dr Paul Kelley, from Oxford University, says that forcing people to work that standard 9 to 5 is exhausting on the body, and leaves us stressed as a result of sleep deprivation.

After the age of 55, humans actually start to need less sleep, but for those under that age, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences.

Missing out on sleep leads to a decrease in productivity, and can also have an impact on our health and wellbeing.

Dr Kelley also quashes the idea that we can 'train' ourselves for early starts, stating that we are not in charge of our circadian rhythms, as that's controlled by a part of our brain, called the hypothalamus.

Speaking to the British Science Festival in Bradford, Dr Kelley campaigned for a 10am start time for both workers and school students, in order to counteract sleep deprivation.

"We've got a sleep-deprived society. It is hugely damaging on the body…your liver and your heart have different patterns and you're asking them to shift two or three hours. This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don't have to," he said.