Not having a regular sleeping pattern could have an adverse effect our health. So says a study published The European Journal of Nutrition this week. The study suggests irregular sleeping patterns could increase the abundance harmful species bacteria in the gut. Altering the time we sleep workdays and weekends causes a shift in our internal body clock. Researchers call this "social jet lag". It leads to a poorer quality diet, a higher consumption of sugary snacks, and lower intakes fruit and vegetables. Study author and nutrition scientist Dr Kate Bermingham said: "Social jet lag can encourage [bacteria] species which have unfavourable associations your health."
The effects social jet lag are like those of jet lag we get long airline flights. Jet lag is extreme tiredness and other physical effects caused flying across different time zones. After a long flight, sufferers often opt unhealthy comfort foods. Social jet lag can be more problematic, as it is ingrained our daily routines. It can elevate the risk diabetes, heart problems, and weight gain. The researchers say a 90-minute difference sleeping and waking times can send the body's biological rhythms disarray. Another nutritionist said: "Maintaining regular sleep patterns…is an easily adjustable lifestyle behaviour we can all do, that may impact your health your gut… the better."