A European study suggests that a mismatch between when the alarm clock rings and when we wake up, following our internal clock, may be fuelling obesity.
A hectic life and social calendar and tight work schedules define modern societies. This results in social jet lag – a term coined for a syndrome, describing the mismatch between our daily schedules and the body’s internal clock.
A research team from Germany analyzed age, gender, weight, height, and sleep data, submitted by 65,000 Europeans. Professor Till Roenneberg and his co-authors conclude that the syndrome is associated with increased BMI, which measures obesity and overweight.
Most people are working the daily shift, and many of us have to wake up very early. To this, the researchers identified the discrepancy between social and biological timing as one of the factors contributing to the epidemic of obesity and overweight. According to the researchers, the work schedules of many people are incompatible with the ideal sleep timing. Tired weekdays start building up into a sleep debt, and many people are sleeping in on their free days to compensate for this. Moreover, people who stay up too late or wake up to early are more likely to eat and drink more, be depressed, and smoke, and their metabolism reacts in ways that are associated with weight gain.
Getting enough sleep helps improve memory and curbs inflammations which are linked to premature aging, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Some studies have indicated that people who get 6 or fewer hours of sleep a night have higher levels of inflammatory protein in their blood than those who get more sleep. There are other health benefits of sleep, including lower levels of stress, steering clear of depression, improved performance, and many others. Healthy weight, as confirmed by the new study, is a major health benefit. Research has shown that dieters who get less sleep feel hungrier.