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