Leading Neuroscientist Claims Work And School Should Start Later

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Leading Neuroscientist Claims Work And School Should Start Later

Leading Neuroscientist Claims Work And School Should Start Later


Everybody loves spending an extra few hours in bed when they can and one of the worst feelings in the world is that moment when you know you have to get up at 7:30am to go to work and you can’t press the snooze button. Well, this might not be completely our own fault, as shown by new research from a leading neuroscientist.

Dr Paul Kelley took to the British science festival this week to talk about studies that show that people of different ages have their own natural waking up times. It isn’t simply a case of going to bed at the right time either, as 18-year-olds have a biological wake-up time of around 9am and it isn’t until you are around 50 that your wake-up lowers back down to 7:00am. According to Kelley this is because of the way your brain reacts to particular types of light.




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. It’s the light that controls it.

Kelley has also called for schools and workplaces to accommodate these biological wake-up times. He believes that exam results, efficiency and all around happiness would increase by staggering starts so that older children and adults don’t start work until around 11:00am to accommodate the fact they will naturally wake up later. “[Staggering times 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.