The very important health reason you need to stop sleeping in on weekends

As someone who just woke up, let me tell you, this isn’t the greatest news. A new study found that sleeping in late on the weekends isn’t just a little lazy, it actually creates a higher risk of things like heart disease and diabetes. Way to crush our dreams — literally.

No, it’s not actually weekends that are the problem, but the vast differences in sleep schedules during the work week compared to our days off. For instance, during the week, I wake up at around 6AM every day. Today, I woke up at 10:30. That’s more than a four hour difference, and that sudden change in pattern is what affects health. It’s a phenomenon referred to as “social jetlag.”

Patricia M. Wong, from the University of Pittsburgh, explains:

I know what you’re thinking: Okay, I’ll just set my alarm an hour or two later on the weekends compared to my work days. Eek, wrong. Wong continues, saying, “this is the first study to extend upon that work and show that even among healthy, working adults who experience a less extreme range of mismatches in their sleep schedule, social jetlag can contribute to metabolic problems.”

Basically, if your sleep schedule isn’t matching your internal clock, something is off, and your body reacts. This study found that the more off their sleep schedule was, the poorer the participant’s cholesterol and the higher the risk for these diseases.

Ugh, is there any good news? Wong has a few suggestions for how to move forward, saying, “there could be benefits to clinical interventions focused on circadian disturbances, workplace education to help employees and their families make informed decisions about structuring their schedules, and policies to encourage employers to consider these issues.”

More sleep and better health? Sounds like a match made in heaven. Now we just have to wait for employers and schools to catch on. Until then, I think I might take a nap.

(Image via NBC)