Are lazy weekend lie-ins damaging your health?
Ahhh Saturdays. Those special mornings where you can hit snooze indefinitely, roll over and relax.
Most people who don’t have kids (hello, living alarm clocks), accept that the weekend is a time to catch up on sleep — whether it’s been lost through a heavy week at the office or a heavy night at the bar.
But while snoozing in might feel like a healthy decision, it could actually be causing you more harm than good.
Because ‘social jet lag‘ is a real scientific thing.
What is social jet lag?
Social jet lag comes from having a different sleep pattern during your working week to your days off. And it could be having a negative image on your health, suggests a new study from University of Arizona.
“Social jet lag occurs when there is a discrepancy between your body’s internal clock and your sleep schedule, exemplified by sleeping shorter times during the week and sleeping longer but staying up later during the weekend,” explains lead researcher Sierra Forbush.
“By measuring social jet lag, we found that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health.”
What problems can occur?
Forbush’s analysis of 1,000 adults suggests that social jet lag has links to both long-term conditions and general wellbeing.
“Each hour of social jet lag was associated with quite a pronounced increased likelihood of good and fair/poor health rather than excellent health (22.1% and 28.3%, respectively) and, more specifically, 11.1% increased likelihood of heart disease,” she explained.
“It was also associated with poorer health, worse mood, and increased sleepiness and fatigue.”
All of the effects Forbush observed were independent of age, socioeconomic status, how much sleep people got and insomnia symptoms.
An end to the Saturday snooze?
Given that four out of five people complain of disturbed or inadequate sleep, we know the appeal of a weekend lie-in.
But if you can bare to drag yourself up out of bed even just a little earlier you could be doing your health a favour in the long run.
Who doesn’t want more waking hours to enjoy on the weekend?
The will always be the odd morning, of course, where you can’t deny yourself ’50 winks’, but it looks like it’s time to cut the Saturday snooze short…