Can changing the sleep schedule affect your health?

While sleeping in on weekend might feel like something you totally deserve after waking up early every workday, it might be quite harmful for your health, according to a recent research.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and included 447 participants (both men and women), aged 30-54, with jobs that took at least 25 hours per week. Participants were asked to fill I the questionnaires about their daily routines (sleeping time, exercising and diet).

About 85% of the participants reported sleeping longer on their free days, compared to the usual workday schedules. Others, on the other hand, said that on their days off they tend to wake up earlier than on the days they work.

After conducting a medical analysis, researchers found that participants who had quite large differences in the sleep schedule between workdays and days off had higher LDL cholesterol levels, as well as higher blood sugar levels, bigger waistline and higher BMI.

Researchers have even given a name to this type of sleep schedule – “a social jetlag”. Furthermore, they claim that even after adjusting for the diet and exercise, the effect of the “social jetlag” on the participants’ health persisted.

It is not the first study to analyze the effects of the mismatch between one’s biological clock and social clock. The previous researches also showed that this kind of sleep schedule is also linked to the increased risks of developing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

None of the studies, however, state the cause-and-effect relationship of this kind of irregular sleep schedule and the developing of the higher specified diseases.

Researchers recommend setting a sleep schedule that would be more stable throughout the week, and maintaining it. Sleep is a crucial aspect of one’s health and it should definitely not be overlooked.