When it comes to being efficient at work, there’s nothing more important than a good night’s sleep, and that is in the interest of the employer as well as the employee.
According to a new study, carried out at the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, chronotypes of 114 steel workers were examined to calculate their daily sleep deficit.
The study suggests that companies should allow their workers to sleep in if it suits their natural body clock to do so, as that in turn makes them more efficient during the day.
Interestingly, the research also showed that not everyone’s body clock is the same, with some people needing to get up at dawn while others prefer to work into the evening.
The phenomenon of “social jetlag,” as it’s called, means that people don’t function at their optimal level unless they have the right kind of sleep which suits their own individual pattern.
On top of that, “social jetlag” has been linked to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
The professor who led the study, Till Roenneberg (pictured above), said, “A simple re-organization of shifts according to chronotype allowed workers to sleep more on workday nights. As a consequence, they were also able to sleep less on their free days due to a decreased need for compensating an accumulating sleep loss. This is a double-win situation. We know that people who sleep better perform better, however you measure it. Their health improves, they take fewer sick days – these are goals which all employers are interested in.”
Due to modern living these days, more and more people work against their natural body clock, and that is not a good thing for the short term and especially the long term.
Roenneberg suggested that employers should offer staff the chance to have their body clock independently assessed and then be given the option to work according to their own pattern.
“This won’t suit everyone. Many people, for example, have to look after children. We have to take these things into consideration and people should not be forced to work according to these patterns. But at the moment 80 per cent of the population is forced into a work timetable which is not suited to them.”
While the results of the German study are fascinating, most corporate employers probably couldn’t even entertain the prospect of letting people come into work when they feel like it, no matter how many scientists suggest it.