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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Kelley

 Start work at 10am (unless you’re in your 50s)?

 Lots of us know we are sleep-deprived, but imagine if we could fix it with a fairly simple solution: getting up later.
(To encourage people to party every night? and forget that the idea is to prevent sleep deprivation? )
Najat Rizk shared a link.
Why you should start work at 10am (unless you’re in your 50s)
We shouldn’t make everyone come in at 9am just because it suits the boss’s sleeping patterns.
It’s time to stagger starting times and let 30-somethings come…|By Emine Saner

In a speech this week at the British science festival, Dr Paul Kelley, clinical research associate at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford University, called for schools to stagger their starting times to work with the natural biological rhythms of their students.

(I have always wondered why schools force children to wake up before 6 am, as if living in the Gulag, and not a freer country. Why anyone must leave home before the air has warmed up and the sun had risen?)

It would improve cognitive performance, exam results and students’ health (sleep deprivation has been linked with diabetes, depression, obesity and an impaired immune system).

It follows a paper, published last year, in which he noted that when children are around 10 their biological wake-up time is about 6.30am. (Because they go to bed earlier than their parents?)

At 16 this rises to 8am; and at 18, someone you may think of as a lazy teenager actually has a natural waking hour of 9am.  (Is that irrespective of at what time they fall asleep?)

The conventional school starting time works for 10-year-olds, but not 16- and 18-year-olds.

For the older teenagers, it might be more sensible to start the school day at 11am or even later.

“A 7am alarm call for older adolescents,” Kelley and his colleagues pointed out in the paper, “is the equivalent of a 4.30am start for a teacher in their 50s.”

He says it’s not as simple as persuading teenagers to go to bed earlier. “The body’s natural rhythm is controlled by a particular kind of light,” says Kelley.

“The eye doesn’t just contain rods and cones: it contains cells that then report to the SCN [suprachiasmatic nuclei], in the hypothalamus.” This part of the brain controls our circadian rhythms over a 24-hour cycle. “It’s the light that controls it. It’s like saying: ‘Why can’t you control your heartbeat?’”

(What light has to do here if your eyes are closed when sleeping?)

This might be why, he adds, the traditional nine to five is so ingrained; it is maintained by bosses, many of them in their mid-50s and upwards, because “it is best for them”.

So should workplaces have staggered starting times, too?

Should those in their 50s and above come in at 8am, while those in their 30s start at 10am, and the teenage intern or apprentice be encouraged to turn up at 11am?

Kelley says 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.”

There would probably be fewer accidents as drivers would be more alert, he says.

It could spell the end of rush hour as people staggered their work and school-run times. (To some extent. When people realize that the way is clear, they will make sure to drive at this particular hour)

A later start to the day for many, says Kelley, “is something that would benefit all people, particularly families; parents who go and try to wake up teenagers who are waking up three hours too early. It creates tensions for everybody.”

So what time does Kelley start work?

“I am 67 so that means I’m back to [being] 10 years old, and I get up just after six. I wake naturally.” And yes, he says he finds the start of his working day much easier now than he did when he was younger.

(My natural waking hour is 9 am. And I’m 66 years old. Obviously, I go to bed way after 1 am because the night is ‘my free time’)





May 2023

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