Most of us like sleeping much longer in the weekends compared to week days. Friday night we usually stay longer, watch night TV shows, chat with our friends online, go to night clubs, or have any other kind of fun. We go to sleep late, and then wake up late in the morning, changing our sleep patterns and daily activity routines. Most of us truly enjoy these long sleeps in the weekends, but scientists warn us about possible negative effects of those. In particular, as one of the recent study has found out, those of us who like sleeping longer and waking up late in the weekends are at much higher risk of weight gain. Specialists at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich have reported about their findings saying that changing sleep patterns is linked to higher risks of obesity and all negative factors associated with this health condition.
According to Prof. Till Roenneberg, a research group leader and the author of the report published this spring in the journal Current Biology, every extra hour spent in bed in the weekend is linked to 33 per cent increase in risk of weight gain. Waking up an hour or two later in the weekend and changing our sleep patterns have the same effects on us in the same way as changing time zone when flying to another country. “The behavior looks like if most people on a Friday evening fly from Paris to New York or Los Angeles to Tokyo and on Monday they fly back. Since this looks like almost a travel jet lag situation, we called it social jet lag,” Roenneberg said. However, the effects of changing sleep patterns as a result of longer sleep in the weekends are different, since the sun goes on coming up and going down in the same time.
At the same time, the effects of the described phenomena can possibly be more harmful since social jet lag is something that takes place regularly, on a long term basis. As a result of these sleep pattern disruption, biological clock of the people have extra load and go through more frequent reset procedures. Similar effects were reported earlier related to shift workers who also suffer from chronically disrupted sleep patters and are exposed to higher risks of obesity and risks of diabetes. The links between good sleep and weight loss have been studied by many researchers and scientists, and there is plenty of scientific evidence to the fact that having a regular good sleep is one of the most important factors for effective weight loss and weight management. The current study, nevertheless, is one of the first researching the reverse effects and proving that sleep irregularities and distorted sleep patterns are linked to increases risk of weight gain.
Prof. Till Roenneberg reported that the mentioned conclusions were made after analyzing information on a large number of people, over 65 thousands. Research group found out that the more social leg we experience, the more load to our body clock we have, the more chances we have to gain weight and suffer from obesity. Also, weight gain due to sleep pattern changes is linked to drop in metabolism which usually accompanies prolonged sleep. “If our sleep is not up to us, we’re much less likely to get enough to stay healthy. And whatever it is limiting our sleep may also limit time for exercise or preparing healthy meals,” Orfeu Buxton, an assistant professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, commented on the findings of her colleagues. Find more information about the research and the findings of German scientists in this publication.