New research from the University of Pittsburgh has shown that the coveted time of relaxation could be causing health issues. Catching some extra sleep on your days off can lead to metabolic problems such as insulin resistance and can also result in weight gain. The findings suggest that shifts in sleep cycles can also create long term health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Although prior research has associated sleep disruptions with poor health, this is the first study that has said that sleeping in can lead to metabolic problems. The study even showed that these issues were separate from other factors such as the presence of sleep disorders, smoking and socioeconomic status.
It is believed that sleeping in causes problems because it throws off the internal clock of the body. This puts the metabolic cycle out of sync with various other circadian rhythms. For example, fat accumulation, food absorption and insulin secretion are all dependent upon circadian rhythms.
The study tracked 447 healthy adults who were in their middle ages for a total of seven days. The participants wore a device that monitored motions in order to see when the participants closed their eyes. The study found that none of their participants maintained the same workday sleep schedule on their days off.
About 85% of the participants compensated by sleeping in, while the other 15% woke up earlier. The average shift was about 44 minutes, and only a few participants changed their sleeping schedules by more than two hours.
The researchers believe that many of the participants were sleeping in on weekends in order to compensate for their lack of sleep during the rest of the week. It is said that not getting enough sleep can also lead to health issues.
However, the main finding was that the people who had the largest differences in sleep schedules were the most likely to have metabolic problems. This means that there is very likely a link between changing one’s sleep schedules and some serious health problems.
You might actually be doing more good for your body by foregoing sleeping in.