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Going to bed later on weekends may harm your health

Posted at 1:15 PM, Jun 07, 2017

Do you stick to a sleep schedule for the work week, yet stay up much later on the weekend? If so, you may be harming your health. 

There’s a fancy medical term for this, it’s called “social jet lag". When you stay up later socializing on the weekends, you shift away from your normal sleep pattern. This disrupts your internal biological clock. A recent published study included nearly 1,000 adults between 22 and 60 years old. The results revealed that every hour of social jet lag increased the risk of developing heart disease by 11 percent.  

Your hormones could play a role, along with your body’s circadian rhythm which is your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. This study highlights the importance of having a consistent sleep schedule. 

Partha’s RX

1. Make it a habit to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. 7 hours a night is best for optimal health.
2. When it comes to the weekend, aim to keep late night socializing to a minimum.  Especially if you’re getting up much earlier come Monday morning.
3. When you do stay out late, avoid artificial light once you get home.  Skip the TV and social media as this keeps you up longer than necessary.
4.  If you do end up with a sleep debt where you haven’t slept enough, you may benefit from getting more than 9 hours per night. 

I hear that often from my patients too. The study did find social jet lag could worsen mood and contribute to fatigue and sleepiness. Participants who reported an hour of social jet lag were 28 percent more likely to rate their health as fair or poor. So it’s really important to stick to a regular sleep schedule even on the weekends. It’s a simple and effective way to lower your risk for heart disease.