Published On: Mon, Jul 23rd, 2012

Got that Monday feeling? It could be social jet lag

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If you struggled to get out of bed this  morning, scientists have come up with a handy excuse – you may be suffering from  social jet lag.

They say sleeping in at the weekend can leave us too tired for the start of the working week, with many remaining groggy until Wednesday.

The immediate effects include poorer memory and reaction times, which would explain that familiar Monday morning feeling of sluggishness.

Over time, repeated changes to sleep patterns  can also make you fatter and more likely to turn to cigarettes and caffeine,  research shows.

The study at Rush University in Chicago into  how changes in sleeping patterns affect reaction times suggests that a shift of  just two hours can leave you worse off in the week.

Test subjects were asked to hit a button when  they saw a bullseye appear on a screen, the journal Applied Ergonomics  reports.

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.

Lead researcher Helen Burgess 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.’

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.

While travel-induced jet lag is something  most of us only endure occasionally, social jet-lag can make itself felt every  week.

His 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.

(Daily Mail)

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