Triggering diabetes might be as easy as enjoying the occasional sleep-in on Saturdays, according to a new study. Even if sleep changes have become routine – such as waking up early during the week and sleeping in on the weekend – the body is still at risk of developing metabolic problems, including heart disease.
- Sleeping in on free days causes disturbances in body clock, leading to higher medical risks
- Social jetlag can contribute to Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease
- Some solutions: workplace education for workers to better structure their sleep, or clinical therapy on circadian disturbances
Prior research has shown that our health is significantly affected by disruption of the body clock, leading to 40 percent increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. For the first time, the study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, has connected the so-called “social jetlag” with non-shift workers living with metabolic illnesses.
For the study, researchers analyzed middle-aged individuals who reported getting up at odd times – a practice which raises levels of fat in blood and reduces the compound responsible with lowering blood sugar levels.
Scientists have agreed that shift workers are more prone to developing metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease than people with regular daytime shifts. According to Dr. Patricia Wong at the University of Pittsburgh, “social jetlag refers to the mismatch between an individual’s biological circadian rhythm and their socially-imposed sleep schedules.”
However, this study is the first to show social jetlag also happens among healthy adults whose range of sleep schedule mismatches is less drastic, but still contributing to metabolic problems. These seemingly minor changes in sleep can lead to the development of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of 447 men and women, 30 to 54 years old, all of whom worked outside the home at least 25 hours a week. In order to be under 24/7 surveillance, the participants were given a wristband measuring sleep and movement. By using questionnaires, researchers could also assess the participants’ exercise habits and diet.
Nearly 85 percent slept in more on free days compared to work days – a practice known as midsleep or “later halfway point in sleep cycle.” The other 15 percent experienced the midsleep earlier on free days.
Those participants with a greater range of misalignment between their sleep schedules on work and free days were more inclined to have more weight around the waist, higher fasting insulin levels, higher BMIs and be more resistant to insulin.
Image Source: Talk About Sleep