It can be difficult to get yourself into a good nighttime routine, meaning many of us are getting far less sleep than we would like.

Whether you have too much on your mind after a busy day or your family household just can’t settle, there are many factors.

But if you’re not going to sleep at the same time throughout the week, this could cause a risk of disease and an “unhealthy change” to the bacteria in your gut, a new study has found.

Although it’s important to make sure you have a wide range of different types of bacteria in your digestive system, not all are good and some are needed more than others.

Kings College London scientists conducted a study with nearly 1,000 adults which revealed that even a 90-minute change in time during the middle of your night's sleep over the course of a “normal week” could impact the types of bacteria found in the human gut.

Those who took part in the research, in the European Journal of Nutrition, had a variety of tests analysed including their sleep and blood, and their stool samples were collected.

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They also recorded everything they ate by documenting it in a food questionnaire.

The study further revealed that this may be due to a result of people with "social jetlag" having poorer diets, reports the BBC.

What is social jetlag?

Social jetlag is the difference in sleep times on different days of the week, for example going to bed later and waking up later on a weekend than you would during the week.

More than 40% of the UK population is thought to be affected by this, the research showed.

The issue is most common in teenagers and young adults but settles as we age.

Kate Bermingham, study author and senior nutrition scientist at health science company Zoe, told the BBC: "[Social jetlag] can encourage microbiota species which have unfavourable associations with your health.”

Saffron Walden Reporter: Do you wake up at different times throughout the week?Do you wake up at different times throughout the week? (Image: Getty)

“Those who had social jetlag (16%) were more likely to eat a diet laden with potatoes, including crisps and chips, plus sugary drinks, and less fruit and nuts,” the BBC said.

Earlier research also showed people with social jetlag “ate less fibre than those with more consistent sleeping times.”

Meanwhile, other studies found social jetlag was associated with health factors such as weight gain, illness and mental fatigue.

"Poor quality sleep impacts choices - and people crave higher carb or sugary foods," added Dr Bermingham.

The researchers at Kings College London discovered that three out of the six microbiota species which were “more plentiful” in the social jetlag group are connected to “poor diet quality, obesity and higher levels of inflammation and stroke risk.”

Dr Sarah Berry, from King's College London, explained: "Maintaining regular sleep patterns, so when we go to bed and when we wake each day, is an easily adjustable lifestyle behaviour we can all do, that may impact your health via your gut microbiome for the better.”