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A Disrupted Sleep Schedule May Harm Your Metabolic Health

Do you hate Monday mornings? There may be a scientific reason for it. A recent study found that even normal sleep changes like waking up early for work may increase the risk of developing metabolic problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Participants in the study included 447 people between the ages of 30 and 54 who took part in the Adult Health and Behavior Project Phase 2 study. All of the participants worked at least 25 per week outside the home. For one week they wore a wristband that measured their movement and sleep 24 hours a day. The researchers also administered questionnaires in order to assess the diet and exercise habits of the participants.

The researchers found that 85% of the participants had a later halfway point in their sleep cycle on non-work days when compared to work days. They also found that the participants who had a larger misalignment between their sleep schedules on free and work days tended to have less healthy cholesterol, higher fasting insulin levels, larger waist circumference, higher body-mass index, and higher insulin resistance when compared with those who had more consistent sleep schedules. The association remained even after the researchers adjusted for variation in other sleep measures as well as health behaviors including physical activity and calorie intake.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 18, 2015, in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Lack of sleep has been linked in previous studies with increased weight gain, faster cognitive decline, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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