Expert says workday should begin at midday to reduce rampant sleep deprivation in Western Hemisphere

Dr. Paul Kelley, a sleep researcher who had success with the practice, says companies should allow workers to come in by midday


                            Expert says workday should begin at midday to reduce rampant sleep deprivation in Western Hemisphere

What would be the ideal time to start the work day? 8 am? 9 am? Well, an expert on the subject says it's neither and if employers want to guarantee the most productivity out of their workers, they should plan to kick off the day somewhere around midday.

LADbible reported the comments of sleep researcher Dr. Paul Kelley, who is one of the strongest advocates for the change because he believes adults in the Western Hemisphere are sleep-deprived given their work begins too early in the day. Kelley's credentials, as well as the fact that he's experienced success with a late work day, suggest the theory may hold some water.

A large portion of working adults in the western world are sleep deprived (Source: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A large portion of working adults in the western world are sleep deprived (Source: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The author of 'Body Clocks,' Kelley previously worked as a headteacher at the Monkseaton Community School in Tyneside, U.K., where he mandated that the day start only at 10 a.m. He explained his theory further in an interview with the Sunday Times and said it would be ideal if the working day could start as late as midday but conceded 10 a.m. would be a fair compromise to accept. "Across the western world, adults are averaging six and a half hours sleep a night during their working lives, when science shows we need at least eight," he said.

"Start times of 10 a.m. are the fairest (and best) if everyone had to choose a single start time," he continued. "That would reduce sleep loss for the population as a whole. This would have an immediate positive impact on current levels of adult sleep deprivation caused by early workday start times. It would reduce sleep deprivation by 70 percent, to 36 minutes on average a day."

A New Zealand firm found that four-day work weeks had a positive effect on productivity (Source: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A New Zealand firm found that four-day work weeks had a positive effect on productivity (Source: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Kelley insisted that a 10 a.m. start would have the greatest impact on reducing sleep deprivation on the whole. However, he also acknowledged it wouldn't be the preferential start time for everybody and divided the population into four categories — definitely morning people, morning people, evening people, and definitely evening people.

If the sleep researcher's comments are taken seriously, it would be just one of the major changes that may affect the work week in the coming decades. According to the New York Times, a New Zealand firm that let its employees work just four days a week, while still paying them for five, found the experiment to have been such a rousing success that they hope to make it a permanent change.

After reducing the number of working hours in the week to 32 — so employees could spend more time with their families, exercising, cooking, and working in their gardens — researchers hired by the firm found employees came back energized after their days off and displayed a 24% improvement in work-life balance.