Research/studies Worker health and wellness

‘Social jetlag’ linked to worker obesity: study

alarm clock

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Oxford, England – People who get much different amounts of sleep on workdays than they do on their free days are more likely to be obese and have an obesity-related disease, according to a new study from the Medical Research Council Harwell.

Researchers studied the connection among obesity, obesity-related diseases – such as diabetes – and “social jetlag,” which is the difference between a person’s sleep pattern on workdays and free days. They examined height, weight, waist circumference and indicators for inflammation and diabetes in more than 800 participants. A questionnaire gathered information on participants’ sleep.

A two-hour difference in sleep patterns by the weekend can raise the risk of a higher body mass index and indicators for inflammation and diabetes, researchers found.

The causes of the increases are unknowns, but researchers noted that social jetlag interrupts healthy habits such as diet and exercise.

The study was published online Jan. 20 in the International Journal of Obesity.