Scientists Call for Bosses to Allow Staff Lie-Ins for Medical Reasons

Starting work early could be bad for your health, according to new research.

The University of Surrey and Northwestern University, Chicago reports that night owls are putting their health at risk with late nights and early starts. It has already been found that lack of sleep can cause heart disease, but the latest findings say that insufficient sleep through late nights and early rises can also result in mental health issues and diabetes, as well as unhealthy drinking and drug-taking.

Agata Pospieszynska

Mortality rates were also found to be 10 percent higher in night owls than those who like to go to bed early. The Independent reports that researchers said that employers should allow flexible working hours so that staff can start and finish later.

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“This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored,” said Malcolm von Schantz, professor of chronobiology at the University of Surrey.

“We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical. And we need more research about how we can help evening types cope with the higher effort of keeping their body clock in synchrony with sun time.”

The study looked at the sleeping habits of 433,000 people about their sleeping habits and followed their health over a six and a half years. While humans have evolved to sleep according to the day-to-night cycle, each person has an individual predisposition to sleeping hours according to environmental and and genetic factors known as “chronotype”.

“Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies” said Kristen Knutson, co-author and associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “If we can recognise these chronotypes are, in part, genetically determined and not just a character flaw, jobs and work hours could have more flexibility for owls.

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“They shouldn’t be forced to get up for an 8AM shift. Make work shifts match peoples’ chronotypes.”

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK