Researchers have found that abrupt changes in sleeping patterns could increase heart disease and may lead to diabetes. The study examined the effects of typical work schedules on people with fluctuating circadian rhythms.
The circadian clock controls the release of hormones, controlling the mood, alertness and body temperature of a body during the daily cycle. A circadian rhythm varies from person to person. The study involved 447 participants in the age range of 30 to 54 who were not working from home at least 25 hours every week. Participants were asked to wear a digital wristband, for monitoring their sleep and activity 24/7. Researchers monitored them for a week, and were also asked to answer questions about their diet and physical activity.
“Evening types are more likely to be depresses, overweight, diabetic, and hypertensive, in comparison to the morning types,” the authors write.
Researchers found that 85 percent of the volunteers slept overtime if they did not have to go to work while the remaining said they woke earlier on free days. The study found that people who slept longer during weekends had higher cholesterol levels, increased resistance to insulin that increases the risk of diabetes, a higher BMI, and were prone to gain more weight.
Lead author Patricia M.Wong said that even among healthy, working adults, social jetlag or changes in sleep schedule can lead to metabolic issues that can lead to diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. However, researchers found that a significant difference, after they adjusted for factors that may promote disease such as unhealthy diet or lack of exercise.
Dr. Wong, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh hopes that if the findings are confirmed by future studies, people should pay more attention to the implications of our social obligations on our sleep and health. The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.[ Source ]