Lots of people function sleep-deprived but one sleep expert says there is an easy solution – getting up later.
Dr Paul Kelley, clinical research associate at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford University – and our new favourite expert – has said no one should begin their working day before 10am, to avoid the “physical torture” of sleep deprivation.
Speaking at the British Science Festival, he said, “Staff should start at 10am. You don’t get back to (the 9am) starting point until [you turn] 55. Staff are usually sleep-deprived. We’ve got a sleep-deprived society.”
He says that if schools and workplaces staggered starting times to work with natural biological rhythms, it would improve cognitive performance and overall health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of issues including diabetes, obesity, depression and a weaker immune system.
Referring to a study published last year, Kelley said that for children around 10, their biological wake up time is 6:30am; this gets later as they get older.
Gallery: Sleep tight, every night
He also highlighted the average sleep loss for different age groups. “Between 14 and 21, it’s more than two hours. For [people aged between] 24 to about 30 or 35, it’s about an hour and a half. That continue up until you’re about 55 when it’s in balance again. The 10-year-old and 55-year-old wake up and sleep naturally at the same time.”
Kelley suggests workplaces adopt staggered starting times, adding that synchronised hours could have “many positive consequences. The positive side of this is people’s performance, mood and health will improve. It’s very uplifting in a way, because it’s a solution that will make people less ill, and happier and better at what they do.”
Sounds good to us.