A study published in the International Journal of Obesity has found that our body clocks get confused in ‘down time’ (i.e. weekends), which can wreak havoc on our bodies, especially when it comes to obesity. Social jet lag refers to the crucial difference int the sleeping habits between our working week and off days.
This is particularly bad news for those who enjoy a lie-on the weekend (um, which is a lot of people) with researchers behind the study finding that even just a two hour difference in your sleeping habits (waking up at 8am on Saturday instead of 6am during the working week) can increase your BMI and markers for inflammation and diabetes.
Dr Michael Parsons, the author of the study said of the finding,
"Social jetlag is an under researched but potentially key contributor to why 'living against our internal clock' has an impact on our health."
The research followed more than 800 people who had different sleep patterns on their on and off days, finding that those with the biggest differences were more likely to be obese and to suffer from obesity-related diseases compared to those who kept a fairly steady sleeping schedule.
Dr Terrie Moffitt, co-author of the paper, told the Telegraph, "These findings help us start to actually understand the physiology of social jetlag and how it impacts upon obesity and obesity-related disease."
The study’s findings will be used to further investigate the role of our body clocks on obesity.
As Dr Moffitt pointed out to the Telegraph,
"Further research that determines this association could help inform obesity prevention by influencing policies and practices that contribute to social jetlag, such as work schedules and daylight savings."
So perhaps it’s time to try leaping out of bed (or rolling will do) on a weekend morning, the early bird gets the worm and maybe the better health too. Darn them.