Healthy adults who become social butterflies on weekends still have an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, based on a new research.
In a study conducted by Patricia Wong, a University of Pittsburgh PhD student, healthy adults who go out for hours at night on Fridays after work and then sleep in the next day can still disturb their circadian rhythm, the body's natural body clock, which may then worsen lipid and glycemic profiles. They can also build up adipose tissues.
Previous researches about sleep and social jet lag, a term coined on the jet-lag effects of a social life, have already been published. However, they were mainly focused on night-shift workers and others who are awake at odd hours. This is the first time that the attention was directed to healthy adults whose work schedules are more or less stable.
For the research, Wong and her team conducted an experiment on more than 440 healthy adults between the ages of 30 and 54, whose work is at daytime. More than half of the participants were females and whites. For a week, all of them wore a special wristband that monitored both their sleep and activity. They also collected blood samples from the participants, who were also asked of their diet and physical activity through a questionnaire. They also calculated the social jet lag for each participant, which was expressed in minutes.
According to the results, around 25% of the participants had experienced social jet lag of more than an hour or 60 minutes. These minutes can already lead to an increase in triglycerides and decrease in hi-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is sometimes referred to as the good cholesterol since it removes the buildup of plaque from the arteries. Their fasting insulin levels also went up and their body became more insulin resistant.
They also were showing signs of risk of obesity with higher figures for body mass index (BMI) and mean for waist circumference, which can mean a buildup of fat around the abdomen. Called visceral or abdominal obesity, it's considered as more dangerous than the other types of fat buildup.
The results are still significant even if other variables like exercise and diet are accounted for. Meanwhile, they didn't find any link between other cardiometabolic risk indicators like high blood pressure and total cholesterol.
Those who slept late after last day of work and sleep in on days off experienced the most impact on changes in circadian rhythm.
The study is now available at Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.