Saturday, 23 January 2010

Larks and owls

The Guardian has a nice piece on variation in circadian rhythms, which makes some of us bright early in the day and others bright in the evening:

"Shiftwork is endemic (involving more than a quarter of workers) and keeps increasing with the demands of our 24/7 consumer society. People with a natural rhythm of getting up late and going to sleep late ("owls" as opposed to "larks") are discriminated against. Adolescents, who have a biological tendency to follow an owlish rhythm, are forced to attend school at early hours when they are still half asleep. Managers and other presumably important people are shuttled back and forth across the Atlantic as if jet lag was just a fairytale."

"There is always going to be a certain amount of night-time work that is essential. A big part of it could be covered by intelligent use of the natural variation between peoples' biorhythms. The larks among us will be happy to start work at 6am, while the owls don't really mind being out until 2am. For the most unpopular hours in the middle of the night, science can help workers adapt."

Read the whole thing here.

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