Sleep Deprivation: Is Your Boss Trying To Kill You?


If your job requires you to show up to work before 10am, your employer is guilty of torture, according to sleep specialist Dr. Paul Kelley, of Oxford University.

Dr. Kelley says that early start times are making workers ill, exhausted, depressed, and stressed. It makes your skin saggy and kills your libido. Lack of sleep may also be causing long-term health problems such as heart attacks, diabetes and stroke and fostering addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Kelley led a team of researchers from the University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School and the University of Nevada. The study looked at the correlation between the circadian rhythm, an internal 24-hour cycle that affects physical and emotional body systems and responses, and how the circadian rhythm interacts with demands to show up, all bright-eyed and perky- early in the morning.

The study revealed that older workers can be expected to show up early, as their circadian rhythms tend to be more in tune with the standard 9-5 schedule. But most adults and older kids are completely out of sync with normal 9-to-5 working hours. At 18 to about 55 years of age, people should ideally start work or study between 10-11am (the younger, the later).

“We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms, so in fact we cannot learn to become morning people,” said Kelley.

Bosses who think getting the troops in early leads to more productivity are so very wrong. Sleep-deprived people – and apparently we are all sleep deprived – are less productive, less creative, and far more likely to get ill than their snoozing peers. Perhaps that’s why so many people say they get more done when they work from home – the general assumption is that there are fewer interruptions (otherwise known as meetings) to contend with at home, but it may be that people simply get more sleep on their remote office days.

Other symptoms of sleep deprivation include anxiety, frustration, anger, lack of impulse control, weight gain, high blood pressure, damage to the immunity system, digestive issues, memory problems, and a general bad attitude.

If you sleep less than six hours a night for just one week, your body makes over changes in how your genes function. These are not positive changes, and they do not have good outcomes.

“Tests on people who slept less than six hours a night for a week revealed substantial changes in the activity of genes that govern the immune system, metabolism, sleep and wake cycles, and the body’s response to stress, suggesting that poor sleep could have a broad impact on long-term wellbeing,” reports The Guardian, a British newspaper.

You are three times more likely to get in a car accident when you are sleep-deprived.  And you should avoid tired-looking doctors, there’s a 300 per cent increase in “fatal consequences” when interns work the typical, single 24-hour shift per week. People who sleep less than five hours a night have a 15% greater risk of death from the all causes than people who get a good night’s sleep. 40% of Americans get six hours sleep or less per night.

Caffeine may make you feel more awake, but it doesn’t address any of the health, performance or emotional issues associated with sleep deprivation. The only thing that does cure the problem is … more sleep.

“We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms. You cannot learn to get up at a certain time,” says Dr. Kelley. “This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to.” Call us at 1-800-238-5163 to find out about how dental savings plans can help make quality dental care affordable.


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