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Sleeping until noon is a luxury that the working class can enjoy only on weekends – but researchers say this is bad for health.
A research from the University of Pittsburgh published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found changes in sleep patterns throughout the week can increase people’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more.
The study is the first to show a link between “social jetlag” and negative health effects in otherwise healthy people, according to a press release from the Endocrine Society.
“Social jetlag refers to the mismatch between an individual’s biological circadian rhythm and their socially imposed sleep schedules. Other researchers have found that social jetlag relates to obesity and some indicators of cardiovascular function,” said Patricia M. Wong from the University of Pittsburgh.
She added that even among healthy, working adults who experience a less extreme range of mismatches in their sleep schedule, social jetlag can contribute to metabolic problems.
“These metabolic changes can contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Of the 447 people studied by researchers, 85% went to sleep later and woke up later on their days off.
Those with the biggest shifts in sleep schedule had worse cholesterol, a higher BMI, a larger waist circumference, and more.
Wong said the results remained even after accounting for participants’ diet, physical activity and other sleep behaviors.
Commenting on the possible implications of their findings, Wong thinks if future studies replicate what she and her team has found , then there may be a need to consider how modern work and social obligations are affecting our sleep and health.
“There could be benefits to clinical interventions focused on circadian disturbances, workplace education to help employees and their families make informed decisions about structuring their schedules, and policies to encourage employers to consider these issues.” she told Medical News Today.