What is the best time of day to start work?

Whether it is going to class, going to work, or starting your day off with some sort of task, everyone has that time of the day where they put on their working hat. Some people start their work at 11 if thats the earliest class they have for that day, or some people start at 5:30, if there job requires them to start that early like a paper man. What I would like to know is when is the best time of the day to start your work? At what time are humans most efficient?


Scientist and clinical research associate at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institue Dr. Paul Kelley at Oxford University believes that starting work before 10 am is torturous . He believes that the circadian rhythms of adults are completely out of sync with the normal working hours, that usually start around 8. Dr. Kelley did a study where he changed the starting time of a school from 8:30 to 10. This experiment concluded that the number of top grades in the school rose by %19.


Dr. Kelley states that a sixteen year old should start their school at 10 a.m. because we have a sleep-deprived society. Sleep-deprivation has been shown to have significant effects on human health. A study showed that having less than six hours of sleep a night can affect how genes function. This means that if we are making people wake up and start their work day before their body naturally wakes up, then we are depriving humans of their sleep, which Dr. Kelley stated to be very dangerous.

Dr. Kelley believes that his experiment with school kids will correlate to adults where if they were to change the starting work time from 8 to 10am, there would be an increase in efficiency. He stated that waking up and starting work before 10am is “hugely damaging on the body’s systems because you are affecting physical, emotional, and performance systems in the body.”


After doing the research I did, Dr, Kelley’s studies seemed to be the only legitimate ones that I could use for this blog. I do hope that there will be other studies that are focused on finding out what time is the best time of the day to start work. Because even though Dr. Kelley’s studies are convincing, more is better.

I can conclude that 10 am sounds like the ideal time to start your work day, whether you are a student or an adult going to work. Circadian rhythms should be considered when bosses decide when to bring their employees in for work, because sleep deprivation can be a dangerous thing to a human’s health. If you have any thoughts or new ideas on this topic, please comment below!

5 thoughts on “What is the best time of day to start work?

  1. Adam Patrick Evans

    19% increase, that’s crazy! I would expect an increase but not that dramatically. I believe if it wasn’t for after school activities all schools would have later starts like the one tried in that study. Another good point you brought up was people in the work force. Kids are not the only ones suffering from sleep deprivation as it is very common for adults too. One third of adults are sleep deprived , which is a huge number. Nobody can work at their best when the required amount of sleep isn’t being obtained, and that study is a great example of that. I wonder how the success of a company would change if they started their days later like the school did, would it too dramatically increase?

  2. Nicholas Sivak

    The talk about getting enough sleep made me think about the complete opposite question. How little sleep is needed to still work efficiently? I found another page from The National Sleep Foundation that states young adults (age 18-25) should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep, same as adults. This is not the same in every person though, some people can be fine with 2 hours of sleep vs 15 hours. This was an interesting blog to read!

  3. Johnna Nicole Hayward

    I really enjoyed your blog because I definitely think it is relatable. I can guarantee you that I suffer from sleep-deprivation. USA Today states “according to the National Survey of Student Engagement’s findings, the average student spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes.” This calculates to approximately 2.5 hours of studying per day. The dilemma I find with this statistic versus what you stated in your post is that there due to class schedules I wouldn’t be able to get 2.5 hours or work in at 10am. I’m sure that many other students would also feel the same way. Due to what you stated, as well as this statistic, I agree that meta-anlyses need to be performed on your topic in order to solidify a conclusion. It would be very beneficial to know when is the best time for us to get all of our work done and then we could possibly schedule our classes around that. Especially since next semester is right around the corner.

  4. Dillon Kiyoshi Corda

    I think it would be interesting to know the demographics of the people that were experimented on. A person’s schedule might depend on the environment they live in. This BBC article suggests that a persons natural sleep schedule is changed by their environment because these people were deprived from light for 14 hours a day and had a different sleep schedule .

  5. odh5019

    I definitely agree with Dr. Paul Kelley’s study. The increase in grades when he had school start after 10am just shows that it is beneficial on average to allow people to sleep in. Sleep is so important and when a student is tired they aren’t able to appreciate the information they are being taught. The National Sleep Foundation found in a poll that 60% of people younger then 18 are tired throughout the day and 15% said that they actually fell asleep while in school. I think all this information shows a strong connection with school performance and sleep.

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