Your Horrible Weekend Sleep Habits Are Hurting Your Health

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Ever heard of the term “social jet lag“? Honestly, us neither. It’s a particular sleep pattern phenomenon that occurs in the lives of most millennials on the weekends. And it turns out it has all-too-real impacts on our health.

According to new research from the University of Arizona in Tucson, social jet lag — or what happens when people go to bed and wake up later on the weekends than they do on weekdays — is connected to worsened mood, sleepiness, fatigue and an increased risk of developing heart disease. We saw the first three coming, but that last one? Whoa.

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Senior study author Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D. and his team examined data from 984 adults between the ages of 22 and 60 years old in regards to their sleep, health activity, diet, environment and socialization habits. They then evaluated their social jet lag using the Sleep Timing Questionnaire, as well as assessed insomnia with the Insomnia Severity Index. Finally, they used additional metrics to evaluate participants in regards to depression, fatigue, sleepiness and a history of cardiovascular disease. Their findings were published in an abstract supplement of the journal Sleep in April and presented at SLEEP 2017.

Apparently, one hour of social jet lag (meaning a one-hour deviation from the weekday midpoint norm) raised participants’ heart disease risk by a whopping 11.1 percent. And an additional hour of social jet leg coincided with a 22.1 percent increase in the likelihood of the participants having just “good” or “fair/poor” health as compared to “excellent” health.

“These results indicate that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health,” said lead author Sierra B. Forbush in a statement.  And this isn’t the only research available on the idea of social jet lag. Last year a study linked social jet lag to obesity and metabolic disorders, and another in 2015 connected this unhealthy sleep pattern to an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

So maybe take this new information into consideration as you make your next set of weekend plans. And either way, aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. It’s for your health, guys.