According to Dr. Paul Kelley, a leading researcher at the University of Oxford, having to get up and start work before 10 o’clock in the morning should be considered a form of torture.
Dr. Kelley explains that human bodies run on biological timers known as the Circadian Rhythm, or more colloquially as the body clock.
This is a genetically pre-programmed cycle which regulates brain activity, energy levels, hormone production and even perception of time. Waking up and beginning activities before 10 o’clock in the morning the Circadian Rhythm is unnaturally disrupted as our ancient ancestors organized their lives around the natural rhythms of the sun.
This can have a knock-on effect for various elements of a human being’s health. According to Dr. Kelley; “We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms. You cannot learn to get up at a certain time…your liver and your heart have different patterns, and you’re asking them to shift two or three hours.”
So if this is the case, why are the structures of the day organized along lines that are provably disruptive to health?
The reason dates back to the early days of the twentieth century when the eight-hour working day was introduced to maximize 24/7 factory productivity and remained in place, largely unchanged, until this day.
According to Dr. Kelley, this is a major international issue that needs to be addressed. “We’ve got a sleep-deprived society,” he said “This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering, and they don’t have to.”
Dr. Kelley experimented on a small-scale with moving the start time of a British school from 8.30 am to 10 in the morning. After a period, Dr. Kelley noted that attendance levels, general productivity in the school and the students’ performances had all dramatically increased.
This small experiment could have huge implications if it were to be applied to other areas of society. In fact, it could feasibly lead to a more productive, rounded and focused society and healthier individuals.