For decades the 9 to 5 has been the standard working day.

But British people may actually prefer an earlier start, according to new figures.

The poll carried out by YouGov shows that two thirds of workers would prefer their day to start and finish earlier, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The most popular choice was an 8 until 4 day - which was chosen by 25 per cent of the 1,965 people polled.


Another 13 per cent of people wanted an 8.30 start working until 4.30pm, and 10 per cent favoured 7am until 3pm.

The choices did not appear to relate to whether or not the person surveyed was a parent.

People with no children or with grown-up children were equally likely to want the earlier working day as those with school-age children.

But the pattern shifts for people who live in London - and those in their late teens and early twenties.

Early starts are less favoured by these two groups, with 19 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying they would like to start work after 9am compared to just 9 per cent of people aged 54 to 65.

Londoners are also statistically likely to prefer a later start, with 27 per cent saying they would like their day to start after 9am compared to 12 per cent in the rest of the south and 13 per cent in the north.

"This could be down to a combination of London's younger population (which, as shown above, is more likely to prefer a late start) or the overcrowding on much of the London transport system during rush hour," the report said.

An earlier survey carried out by Timewise found that 90 per cent of adults disliked the standard 9-5 day.

Previous studies have suggested that young people feel more tired if they don't get enough sleep than older people do.

Scientists have debated whether this means older people do not actually need as much sleep.

But a study published earlier this year in journal Neuron found that older adults are less able to sleep and have simply adjusted to the side-effects of being sleep deprived.

Figures also suggest that people tend to work fewer hours per week than they did 20 years ago.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that while the average person in 1998 worked 31.6 hours a week, this had dropped to 31 hours exactly by last year - the equivalent of one week fewer each year.