What’s the Latest Development?
New research reveals that losing sleep could be a significant contributor to obesity. In a study at the University of Munich, researchers surveyed the sleep habits of more than 65,000 adults and found that “people whose weekend and weekday sleep schedules differed were three times more likely to be overweight than those who went to bed and awoke at the same time each day.” When people are low on sleep, they tend to eat less healthily and rely more on alcohol, caffeine and tobacco to keep them going. And those who eat while their body should be sleeping will be met with a slower metabolism, contributing to weight gain.
What’s the Big Idea?
The German researchers isolated a phenomenon they call “social jet lag”, referring to the different set of hours many people keep to manage their work and social commitments. Alternating between those two sets, typically between workweek and weekend, can result in the sleep deprivation that promotes weight gain. The study concludes that work schedules should do more to accommodate people’s social lives: “Rather than bending early birds and night owls to the same work schedule, why not encourage personalized schedules based on each individual’s circadian rhythms?”
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