News: Is ‘social jet lag’ making you gain weight?

If your idea of the perfect weekend is like mine (read: sleeping in and eating brunch at noon) you may


If your idea of the perfect weekend is like mine (read: sleeping in and eating brunch at noon) you may want to rethink your Monday-to-Friday routine.

According to a new study published in Current Biology, following a different schedule during the weekdays versus the weekends can triple your odds of being overweight.


Social jetlag. The term, as described to by Till Roenneberg, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Psychology, in Germany means, "the discrepancy between what our body clock wants us to do and what our social clock wants us to do."

Essentially, our bodies want us to stay snug in bed until we feel well rested, but our social obligations, like work, require us to get up.

Unfortunately, those obligations also have the potential to make us sick.

David J. Earnest, Ph.D., a neurobiologist and body-clock expert at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, compared social jetlag to shift work.

“This potentially has ramifications for disrupting circadian rhythms and translating into the same sorts of things associated with shift work, such as an increased risk for cancer and diabetes and so on.”

Not only that, but living ‘against the clock’ may be a factor contributing to the epidemic of obesity.

So what’s a tired nine-to-fiver to do?

The data suggests that we need to ‘improve the correspondence between biological and social clocks to contribute to the management of obesity.’

Roennenberg’s suggestion?

Personalized schedules based on each individual’s circadian rhythms.

Looks like my bed and I will be spending a lot more quality time together.

What do you think? Would you feel better having a schedule based on when your body needs sleep?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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