Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day of the week is one of the bedrocks of good sleep hygiene. But when it’s Friday night and you don’t have to at work the next day, it’s easy to let your bedtime slip later and snooze your alarm in the morning. New research presented at SLEEP 2017, the annual meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, offers a few compelling reasons not to change your sleep schedule on the weekends though: it’s linked to worse mood, poorer health and increased risk of heart disease.
Pushing your bedtime and wake-time back on the weekends is called social jet lag and in this new study, researchers led by Michael A. Grandner, PhD, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, wanted to see how the practice is connected to health. They analyzed self-reported data on sleep and health from more than 900 people between the ages of 22 and 60 years old, along with measurements of their sleepiness and fatigue.
For every hour of social jet lag (i.e. going to bed at 10 p.m. and waking at 7 a.m. on weekdays, but going to bed at 11 p.m. and waking at 8 a.m. on weekends), subjects were 28.3 percent more likely to report that their health was “fair/poor” compared to “excellent” and 11.1 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease. They also racked up higher scores on tests that measured their sleepiness and fatigue. The effects were independent of sleep duration, meaning that it didn’t matter how long people actually slept — it was their later bedtimes and wake-times that were linked to worse health outcomes.
These findings show association, not causation, so the researchers can’t say that irregular sleep schedules will definitely erode your well-being, but they add to existing research linking social jet lag to health problems like diabetes and heart disease. If you want to get quality, consistent sleep and maintain good health, it’s best to stick to the same sleep schedule — no matter what day of the week it is.
Read more about the study here.
Originally published at medium.com