Humans have natural tendencies toward specific sleep and wake times. Chronotype is an individual’s variation of sleep and wake timings that can be influenced by genetics and environmental factors.
When people live out of sync with their internal body clock, they can experience circadian misalignment. For instance, evening owls or late chronotypes struggle when they must wake up early. While morning chronotypes struggle working night shifts. This misalignment and imposed social and work obligations can lead to many chronic health risks and conditions.
Why employers should consider chronotypes
Shift work is common around the world. In the EU, a quarter of the workforce is shift workers and 20% of the workforce have night shifts at least once a month. However, shift work is associated with health risks, sleep problems, accidents and fatigue. Improving the health and productivity of shift workers has been a focus for both research and employers.
Similarly, chronotype information is important for conventional workers that work 9-to-5. The modern world is tailored to the morning people with meetings frequently starting at 9 am. However, this may not be ideal for the biological clocks of many.
Strategies to improve health and performance
Research suggests that matching chronotypes to shift times improves sleep duration, quality and wellbeing. For instance, one study examined chronotype-adjusted shift schedules in factory workers. The night owls were not given the early morning shifts, while morning larks did not work during the night. This adjustment in shift schedules improved subjective well being, sleep quantity and quality. Moreover, social jetlag, or the misalignment between social and internal clocks, was also improved.
As for conventional workers, avoiding scheduling incompatible meeting times and making the most out of productive hours could boost the performance and satisfaction of the employees. You can learn more about the best times for different activities with LYS.
How LYS helps employees
LYS Workplace Wellbeing is a science-based wellbeing programme that helps employees improve their sleep, energy levels and mood. Inspired by the latest research in circadian rhythms, the programme uses wearable light sensors together with an in-app coaching plan.
In just 2 weeks, the average LYS user reports:
- 20% improvement in sleep quality
- 17% increase in energy levels
- 50% exposure to natural light
Learn how world-leading companies use LYS Workplace Wellbeing to boost productivity and employee wellbeing.