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Expert Says We’ll Be Much More Productive If We Start Work Until After 10am

Expert Says We’ll Be Much More Productive If We Start Work Until After 10am

For many of us, waking up early is difficult. Yet we try to do it. Why? Because everyone seems to be doing it. Everyone tells us that it’s good for us. Our work demands it of us. Society demands it of us. We are told in order to be successful we need to rise early. And so we feel pressured. We feel guilty. We suck it up. We obey this norm. But this is wrong.

Some of us are night owls. We are at our most productive at night; when it’s peaceful and there are no distractions. We enjoy rising later to account for our unique habits. And this is fine. Everyone is different. No one person is the same. It’s time then to stop feeling guilty because of what society regards as normal. What is normal anyway? Normal is relative.

The next time someone mentions the importance of rising early – mention that there is a growing body of research highlighting that we are in a sleep deprivation crisis and that rising later is better to allow for our unique body clock.

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We are in a sleep deprivation crisis

Society is in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis as we force ourselves to adapt to working hours that are not in sync with our Circadian rhythms (natural body clock that regulates the timing of sleeplessness and wakefulness):

“At the age of 10 you get up and go to school and it fits in with our nine-to-five lifestyle. When you are about 55 you also settle into the same pattern. But in between it changes a huge amount and, depending on your age, you really need to be starting around three hours later, which is entirely natural.” – Dr Paul Kelley (Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford), The Guardian.

Health Implications

The biggest age group affected is 14-24-year-olds. This has far reaching implications for our health. Kelley says the following, speaking to the Telegraph:

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‘It is hugely damaging on the body’s systems because you are affecting physical, emotional and performance systems in the body…”

Kelley goes on to say that sleep deprivation can lead to exhaustion, frustration, anxiety, weight gain, high blood pressure, poor long term memory and can even improve chances of stimulant (alcohol) use and risk-taking.

Proposed 10:00am work starts, backed by science

As a result, Kelley advocates 08:30 am starts (or later) for 10-year-olds, 10am starts for 16-year-olds and 11:00 am starts for 18-year-olds. Not only does he recommend a change among the younger generation, he also recommends that staff should start work at 10:00 am as they are often sleep deprived – which directly affects their health, performance and output. All this does have scientific backing.

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We all have melatonin – a hormone that assists in regulating our body clock. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers don’t start releasing this hormone until nearly 11 o’clock at night. The hormones pumps through our blood during the night and into the late morning.This makes it difficult for teenagers to rise early.

Neuroscientists also say that teenagers are geared towards going to bed at midnight and only feel fully functional by 09:00-10:00am the next morning. In a pilot study conducted by Kelley himself who was formerly a head teacher at Monkseaton Middle School,  starting hours were moved from 08:30-10:00 am. There was a marked increased in the improvement of grades by 19%. Kelley is currently part of a wider study, involving 100 schools across Britan where they are experimenting with different start times. The study which started in 2014 will end in 2018.

What this all means

The effects of sleep deprivation are real. Society needs to consider revising work and school start times to allow for us to follow our natural body clock. For 10-year old’s the current start times fit into a 9-5 lifestyle, with people returning to this pattern in their mid 50’s. For everyone else in between, later start times needs to be considered.

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This is especially evident among teenagers who have a distinctly different body clock from adults. And for adults, the demands of work and the “rat-race” imply that companies need to re-consider their times – as this not only affects the health, performance and output of employees but ultimately the bottom line of companies.

And for the night owls. Each of us is different. Waking up later is natural. it’s part of our biological clock. Stop feeling guilty about it. Start feeling good about the fact that you have known and have been doing all along, what experts are increasingly advocating.

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Nick Darlington

Nick is a Multipotentialite, an entrepreneur, a blogger and a traveler.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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