News Monday May 21, 2012

Social jet lag can cause obesity

A new condition known as social ‘jet lag’ is caused by hectic lifestyles and lack of sleep, and can cause a number of symptoms ranging from insomnia to weight gain and depression.

Similarly to the traditional definition of jet lag, social jet lag occurs when there is a disparity between the body’s internal awareness of the time of day and what our surroundings are telling us.

This condition has only been reported recently and is associated with excessive smoking, drinking and caffeine consumption. Researchers have now also linked social jet lag to obesity.

Doctor Till Roenneberg, of the University of Munich in Germany, said: "We show that social jetlag also contributes to obesity; the plot that social jetlag is really bad for our health is thickening."

Because out body clocks are responsible for telling our brains when it is time to eat, as well as sleep, people whose lifestyles are leaving them sleep deprived will likely consume more calories and find less time and energy to exercise.

The fact that people are now waking up to alarm clocks as opposed to doing so following their body’s signals means that we are no longer accustomed to following the natural instincts of our body clocks.

Dr Roennenberg went on to say: "Good sleep and enough sleep is not a waste of time but a guarantee for better work performance and more fun with friends and family during off-work times."

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