London: If getting out of
your bed on a Monday morning seems like a Herculean task, then you
could be suffering from social jet lag, according to scientists.
The immediate effects include poorer memory and reaction times,
explaining a Monday morning feeling of sluggishness. A shift of
just two hours can leave you worse off in the week, says a study
by Rush University in Chicago into how changes in sleeping
patterns affect reaction times.
The phrase 'social jet lag' was coined by German researcher Till
Roenneberg, who has shown that the phenomenon can take a hefty
toll on health, by raising the odds of drinking, smoking and
relying on caffeinated drinks, the journal Applied Ergonomics
While travel-induced jet lag is something most of us only endure
occasionally, social jet lag can make itself felt every week,
according to the Daily Mail.
Over time, repeated changes to sleep patterns can also make you
fatter and more likely to turn to cigarettes and caffeine, the
Test subjects were asked to hit a button when they saw a bulls eye
appear on a screen, Unsurprisingly, they were slower in the
mornings than in the evenings - but they were also far slower
after a pattern of sleep similar to getting up early on a Monday
morning after a weekend of late starts.
Helen Burgess, from Rush, who led the study, said: "The weekend
sleep in is just the process by which people shift their clocks
later - it wouldn't be a problem except for that rude awakening on
Monday morning when all of a sudden we need to shift earlier."
Her latest study, of 65,000 men and women, found that those with
different weekday and weekend sleeping schedules were more than
three times as likely to be overweight as those who tended to keep
similar hours day after day.