A recent study published in the journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism explains why social jetlag can cause metabolic imbalances. Social jetlag, that is, individuals’ tendency to sleep les during work days and more on their days off has been linked to diabetes and heart diseases.
We often find ourselves longing for weekend days on Mondays, simply because we feel we need to get our overdose of sleep. Yet, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh suggests the opposite.
According to researchers, the bigger the social jetlag between working days and days off, the bigger the risks we run for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In case you are not familiar with this term, social jetlag refers precisely to this difference that arises from people’s tendency to go to bed and rise later during weekends.
The finding was confirmed by a lengthy experiment involving 447 men and women with ages between 30 and 45. These individuals worked at least 25 hours outside their homes and have never been diagnosed with a particular disease.
During the experiment, participants wore special wristbands so scientists could monitor their activity by day and by night. The wristbands recorded data over a period of a week, but these pieces of information have been complemented with additioal questionnaires and blood samples that participants had to take.
At the end of the experiment, researchers have noticed that 85 percent of the subjects slept longer during their weekend days, while their sleeping intervals were very short during working days. Surprisingly enough, these individuals also had higher cholesterol levels and a bigger resistance to insulin as medical records have revealed.
The majority of these participants presented bigger BMI scores and larger waist sizes, proving medical researchers that social jetlag could have a strong influence on a person’s health. To eliminate all possible biases, scientists have also considered other factors, namely, the sleep quality, alcohol consumption, physical activities, etc. The same differences remained, even after all other causes have been eliminated.
Although the exact correlation between social jetlag and metabolic imbalances hasn’t been proven, the new study is strong evidence in this sense. Medical experts acknowledge that future research has to be conducted to prove the validity of the present hypothesis, but they believe the present study is a good starting point. They recommend people to lead balanced lives to avoid metabolic disruptions and additional health risks.
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