A new study out of Oxford University found that forcing staff to start work before 10am is making employees ill, exhausted and stressed. Before the age of 55, the circadian rhythms of adults are totally out of sync with the average 9-5 working hours, posing a serious threat to employees' performance, mood and mental health.
Study author Dr Paul Kelley says sleep deprivation is particularly damaging on the body's physical, emotional and performance systems.
"Your liver and your heart have different patterns and you're asking them to shift two or three hours. This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don't have to," says Kelley.
And contrary to popular belief, no - you cannot change your circadian rhythms.
"We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms," said Kelly. "You cannot learn to get up at a certain time. Your body will be attuned to sunlight and you're not conscious of it because it reports to hypothalamus, not sight."
Just one week with less than six hours sleep each night leads to 711 changes in how genes in your body function. Lack of sleep impacts performance, attention and long term-memory, and can also lead to exhaustion, anxiety, frustration, anger, impulsiveness, weight-gain, risk-taking and high blood pressure.
So when you're forced to wake up or go to work earlier than what your body wants to, your sleep deprivation is putting your body under a huge amount of stress, and "sleep deprivation is a torture."
So what can you do? Well maybe don't (actually, just don't) accuse your boss of torturing you, but perhaps raise the topic of coming into work a bit later and back it up with the potential benefits like higher quality work, a greater work ethic and an improved mood.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health.