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  • Article

2 min read

Are lie ins bad for your health?

A morning in bed may seem like the perfect start to your weekend, but a Saturday morning lie-in could be bad for your health according to a study by the Medical Research Council.

The research warns that the difference in sleep patterns between work days and days off raises the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The study involved analysing the sleeping habits, weight and height of 800 people. It focused on 'social jet lag', which is the term used to describe the difference in someone’s sleep patterns between work days and days off – otherwise known as your lie-in at the weekend. 

The results showed that those who were socially jet-lagged were more likely to be obese or develop diabetes. Therefore, if you are used to getting up at 7am on a work day, but regularly sleep in until 9am on a day off, you are increasing your risk of health issues – the study found even a two hour difference in sleep patterns was enough to be problematic.

The reasons behind the increase in health risks are not entirely clear, but one possibility is that changes in sleep patterns could affect our appetite hormones and activate our genes that process fats and sugars correctly, at the wrong time of day. An effective way to combat 'social jet lag' is to start thinking twice about snacking and ditching the sugary or fatty foods during your work day. 

The lead study author Michael Parsons concluded, "Unlike jet lag from travelling, social jet lag is more likely to trigger health problems because it occurs regularly. I don't want to tell people not to have a lie-in because I enjoy one myself." 

It's not all bad news, lazing in bed occasionally will not cause you any harm, so don't be put off treating yourself every once in a while!

Source: Medical Research Council Archive

Author - Liz Tabron

Liz Tabron

Liz has over 7 years' experience in writing lifestyle, home, health, and eco content. Liz's mission is to make accessible our expert team's knowledge.