Here’s a trio of terms you’ve probably never seen in the same sentence: Guantanamo, waterboarding, working the 9-5.
What could they possibly have in common, you ask? Well, despite vast differences in their violation of human rights, all of them have been associated with the word ‘torture’.
That’s right, the ball and chain that ties you to your desk at work defies the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Such is the belief of sleep expert Dr. Paul Kelley, an Oxford academic who recently likened 9-5 working shifts to “torture” and said that they could pose a “serious threat” to employee health. Kelley blames low productivity, depressed moods, illness and/or stress on working hours that disrupt the typical adult’s circadian rhythm.
“This is a huge society issue. Staff should start at 10am. We’ve got a sleep-deprived society,” said Dr Kelley, who also suggests students start school at the same time. “We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms. You cannot learn to get up at a certain time. Your body will be attuned to sunlight and you’re not conscious of it because it reports to hypothalamus, not sight,” he added.
Though many might be quick to dismiss his opinion, several studies have connected poor health to sleep deprivation, which now affects one in three people. Long-term affects on health include obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure, as well as hopelessness, memory problems and irritability.
Other research has determined later start times also yield better results in the classroom. which Kelley believes could be improved up to 10 per cent.
“Allowing more time for supervised study and extra-curricular activities has been shown to benefit disadvantaged pupils in particular by giving them access to purposeful, character-building activities, which is why we are helping schools offer a longer day,” said a spokesman for the U.K. Department for Education.
The spokesman pointed out that schools are free to set their own start and finish times, a policy Kelley hopes can be used to cure our sleep-deprived society.