If you’ve successfully engineered a child who lets their parents sleep in on the weekends, you need to share your research with the world and start working on your Nobel acceptance speech. You also, according to science, need to cut it out because those lazy Sundays are making you fat.
“Social jet lag” — the fun-sounding name for this fun-crushing concept — is the idea that by sleeping in or staying out late (following a “social clock” rather than a body clock), you’re subjecting your body to the equivalent of skipping 3 time zones. One study found that people who made dramatic changes to their sleep schedule each weekend were at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, plus a higher Body Mass Index (meaning how thick you are in the places you don’t want to be thick) than those who didn’t. Another study found that, for every extra of sleep you manage to steal each weekend, the risk of obesity rises about 33 percent.
This is all due to the havok social jet lag wreaks on your circadian rhythm, which is the like the body’s thermostat and HVAC system, controlling temperature, organ activity, and hormone secretion. The health risks with that aren’t new — doctors have known for a while that too much sleep can cause depression and heart problems. As for too little sleep, you’ve already done your own dissertation on that topic, haven’t you?