A new study from Oxford University highlights the need to address the issue of increased winter working hours because of the circadian clocks within our bodies. The researchers studied the effect of a 24-hour work week on the daily rhythm of the human circadian clock located in the brain.
It is the study that helps to explain why we should all work shorter working hours in winter. In addition, the research has implications for higher education and workforce planning.
The research points out that a disruption in the daily natural rhythm of the body can lead to a series of negative consequences, affecting the way our brains process what we consume. If this disruption is allowed to continue unchecked, it can result in a serious decline in the productivity of society as a whole.
We Should All Work Shorter Hours in Winter
The study Science explains why we should all work shorter hours in winter, focusing on the impact of extended work hours on our daily metabolism. Extended working hours cause the body’s temperature to rise above its normal level.
This increase, in turn, causes a decline in the body’s core temperature, resulting in symptoms such as dizziness or even headaches. These symptoms are caused by a lower core temperature.
When the body’s temperature does not return to its normal level after the evening meal, the metabolism rate slows down. This process is known as circadian rhythm. It is the mechanism through which the body clock, or central nervous system, regulates and sets the timing of various internal biological processes and physiological functions.
If the circadian clock is interrupted for a long period of time, the result is the same as a mismatch between the external environment and internal homeostasis.
The research conducted by Oxford University indicates that a significant reduction in work hours is the best remedy to counter this problem. The study also indicated that the shortest working hours are optimal for human chronobiology.
According to the research, those shortest working hours lead to a marked metabolic decrease. This results in the body temperature going down below the normal level after the evening meal.
The researchers suggested that this metabolic change may lead to the development of social jetlag. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology confirmed that the circadian clocks of humans do indeed differ during winter and summer seasons.
Why We Work Shorter Hours in Winter
Individuals who move from their homes in the summer to their workplaces in winter experienced a profound fall in their core body temperatures. In contrast, those individuals who shift to their homes in winter had a marked rise in their core body temperatures.
The study concluded, “Social jetlag can be reduced by undertaking circadian reset sessions in the winter.” This information provides an answer to the question why we should all work shorter hours in winter to reduce the impact of social jetlag.
According to Science magazine, researchers at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom believe that a strong and healthy immune system is crucial in fighting the perils of the winter season.
If you have a strong and healthy immune system, your body will be better able to fight off the illnesses and diseases associated with the cold and flu season. The researchers believe that a strong and healthy immune system is also essential in controlling circadian clocks and thus may contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
The weakening of the body clock, resulting in a circadian phase delay, can be brought about by a number of factors, including exposure to physical and mental stress. The timing of sleep can also be affected by the amount of sleep needed by the body to recover from a traumatic event or illness.
Finally, certain lifestyle choices can also cause the circadian clock to run a little slower or faster. For example, someone who works in an environment where he or she is exposed to loud noises or has a very stressful job may expect to sleep a little longer than someone who lives in a calmer environment.
Science is suggesting that the solution to the problem of how to work shorter hours in winter lies in avoiding these three lifestyle choices mentioned above. To do this, you simply need to find a schedule (a workable calendar) that meets (and exceeds) your daily requirements and goals.
You do not need a magic wand to make this happen, but the right schedule can help you go from being “worked up” to “blown away” when it comes to your ability to maintain a good, healthy winter’s work schedule. After learning about how science explains why we should all work shorter hours in winter, isn’t it time to try it?
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