German scientists have coined this sleep pattern ‘social jet lag’.
They say when we keep a different sleep schedule on weekdays to the weekends, our circadian rhythms are out of sync with our daily work routines, causing our bodies to fly back and forth between time zones every weekend – even though we’re not travelling anywhere!
What’s worse, they’ve found that adults with different weekday and weekend sleep schedules have triple the odds of being overweight – and the longer the gap between their weekday and weekend ‘time zones’, the higher their body mass index (BMI).
This research follows previous studies that found an increased risk of obesity among shift workers, along with chronic diseases such as diabetes, could be blamed on their irregular meal times. This in turn disrupts shift workers’ metabolisms.
These same factors may be at play with social jet lag, say researchers.
By eating when our body doesn’t want to eat, we may not be digesting our food properly and therefore may store more of it as fat if we hit the hay straight away.
So next time you ignore your alarm clock and have a leisurely lie-in on a Tuesday morning, you can tell your boss that it’s all part of your new weight-loss regimen!