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 new study by the Medical
Research Council.


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New 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 men and women aged 38. There was a
particular focus on 'social jet lag', which is the difference
between waking hours during the week compared to the weekend or
days off. The results show 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 are increasing your risk of health
issues as just 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 concludes, "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!


For helpful sleep tips visit Dr Nerina's Sleep