We’ve all heard the old adage, ‘early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise.’ But is it really true for everyone? Doctor Camilla Kring doesn’t believe it is! She believes that our deeply ingrained culture of getting up early to go to work or school needs to change. She has a PhD in Work-Life Balance from the Technical University of Denmark, and consults and speaks around the world about abandoning traditional work day hours.
She says it is a mistake that everyone be held to the same schedule because of differences in our chronobiology – the science of circadian rhythms, and that you are either an A-Person or a B-Person and should schedule your life based on that. A-persons, naturally wake up early and are at their best in the morning; while B-persons, prefer to sleep in and are most productive and creative later in the day. Whether a person is an A or B depends on genetics and age.
According to Dr. Kring, younger people tend to be B-persons which has led to the idea that even a one hour delay in the start time of school can be beneficial.”There is more and more research showing that a later starting time in schools gives more sleep to the students and also higher grades,” she said. Kring, founder of a business consulting company called Super Navigators, has worked in 15 countries around the world implementing “chrono-leadership.” That is a combination of chronobiology and leadership, with the goal of creating more flexible schedules. She even has a TED Talk on the subject and wrote a free e-book on the subject, Life Navigation: Tools to Improve Your Work-Life Balance.
She also expands on how municipalities and businesses can benefit from catering to both types of people, by reducing traffic and increasing production, by taking advantage of both types a business can operate at higher efficiency as well as extended hours as (A-persons and B-persons would be in the office at different hours), and by staggering the workforce it would cut down on ‘rush hour’ traffic situations. “Some of the companies I’ve been working with get an increase from 39 per cent work-life balance satisfaction to 95 per cent,” she said. She says it is problematic that 80 per cent of people are woken up by an alarm clock.