Rapidly shifting sleep schedules ups cardiometabolic risk according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Early to bed and early to rise is a common pattern to follow for most people. However, as the weekend sets on, activities that include your friends, your family, going out and catching up with chores left aside during the week tend to occupy a lot more time. Thus, most of us will use the weekend to stay awake for longer and sleep in longer as well. As sweet as it may, this shift in sleeping patterns could negatively affect our health and ups cardiometabolic risk.
Scientifically, the difference which occurs between one’s preferred sleep schedule and the socially-imposed sleep schedule is known as social jetlag.
According to Patricia Wong with the University of Pittsburgh and lead author on the study, social jetlag has been consistently linked to poor lipid profiles, increased adipose tissue and worsening glycemic control.
Social jetlag is a common occurrence with employees working unusual shifts or night shifts, without a fixed schedule. For these higher risk category, social jetlag has been associated with an uptick in cardiometabolic risk. Nonetheless, Wong’s research is the first to extend previous findings to healthy adults following a typical 25 to 40 hours per week working schedule. Even if they are less prone to shifts in their sleep schedules, their cardiometabolic risk also increases. A higher cardiometabolic risk means higher chances that one develops diabetes, cardiovascular disease or becomes obese.
The main finding of the study is that rapidly shifting sleep schedules ups cardiometabolic risk. The research team hopes that provided the results are replicated in future studies, a new paradigm will include a societal change in understanding the importance of sleep schedules or circadian disturbances.
The study was conducted on 447 healthy adults, both male and female in the age group of 30 to 54. Throughout the week, they worked full time or part time day jobs. 53 percent of the participants were female. In addition, 83 percent of the participants were white.
Throughout the study all participants were asked to wear a wristband functioning as an actigraph and collecting data on their sleeping and waking up hours, as well as their movement throughout the day. In addition, all participants gave blood samples and had to complete a questionnaire assessing their diet and level of exercise.
At the end of the study, crunching all the data yielded the following results. Of the 447 participants, 111 presented a social jetlag of over 60 minutes. Sleeping schedules during their free days were understood to reflect the preferred circadian sleep cycle, with sleeping schedules during workdays understood to reflect socially-imposed circadian sleep cycle.
For the participants found to have social jetlag, cardiometabolic risk was high.
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