BEACON TRANSCRIPT – For many hardworking people, the Saturday and Sunday morning snooze is something to live – or die – for. But recent findings might stop you in your tracks before you dismiss any alarms on weekends.
In spite of its gloriousness, sleeping in could have adverse effects on your body, such as leading to metabolic problems, a high BMI and insulin resistance. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that any sleep-time adjustments are linked to long-term health problems (think diabetes).
Even though previous research exists on the matter of sleep disruptions and their connection to an overall poor health, this is the first study to specifically associate metabolic problems to regular shifts in shut-eye times. For the study, socioeconomic status, sleep disorders and smoking were factored out of the results.
The matter is that routine sleep changes have the ability to mess with the body’s internal clock, making authors speculate that they can throw off metabolic cycles in relation with other circadian rhythms.
For the study of shifting sleep times, lead researcher Patricia Wong at the University of Pittsburgh and her team monitored the sleep habits, diets and overall health of 447 middle-aged people. The participants wore a motion-monitoring wrist accelerometer for the entire duration of the seven-day study.
In addition, Wong’s team made sure that each participant was monitored on at least one night before a day-off in order to note the schedule differences between workday and play-day. Some scientists call this phenomenon “social jet lag.” Researchers found that none of the participants had the same sleep schedules on workdays and days-off.
According to the wrist monitors, the majority of 85 percent of the participants were sleeping in, while the remaining 15 percent shifted their sleep schedules earlier. The average for the participants shifting their sleep forward was 44 minutes, with only a few sleeping in up to two or three hours.
Most of the participants that formed a habit of sleeping in on weekends seemed to seek for sleep compensation, reducing the “debt” they’ve achieved during work days. However, previous studies show that constantly trying to catch up with sleep during weekends has little effect on sleep-deprived people.
Researchers concluded the bigger the sleep gap between workday and free-day sleep schedules, the higher the risk to develop metabolic health problems. More social jet lag meant more fats in the blood, bigger waist circumference, higher BMI, and lower levels of good cholesterol.
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