One of the perks of getting older is being able to act like a teenager again.
If you feel like dying your hair purple, go right ahead. Want to eat breakfast for dinner? Fine, who is going to stop you?
And then there’s the sleeping in until noon on the weekends. After all, you’ve EARNED it… right?
Saturday and Sunday mornings are made for staying in bed.
Besides, with your jam-packed, dusk-to-midnight schedule you count on sleeping late to catch up on all those missed zzzs.
Well, you know how I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But it turns out “catching up” on sleep is mostly a myth.
But even worse, it could be harming your health.
Because new research has revealed using the weekend to recover from burning the candle at both ends causes chaos with your body clock.
And sleeping late can have serious consequences, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology.
Burning the midnight oil can make you fat
For the new study researchers split volunteers up into three groups.
Group A slept for nine hours every night during the study. Meanwhile, Group B clocked in at just five hours.
But Group C had a mixed bag. They slept for just five hours a night Monday through Friday. But on the weekends they could sleep as late as they wanted. And bedtime on Sunday nights was entirely up to them.
Groups B and C ended up snacking more at night. And as a result, they gained weight during the study. But the researchers expected this since we already know sleep deprivation triggers hunger and snacking.
You see, the more sleep you get, the more leptin your body produces. And since leptin is a hormone which signals to your brain that you feel full and satisfied, you naturally end up snacking less.
On the other hand, the less sleep you get, the more ghrelin, or hunger hormone, your body produces. Which is why you can’t resist that midnight snack when you stay up watching the late movie.
Sleeping late triggers insulin resistance
But the researchers WERE shocked by something else which happened to Group C.
The sleeping late volunteers developed insulin resistance in their muscles and kidneys. Which was a fate that even the short sleepers in Group B didn’t suffer.
When you eat, your muscle and liver tissues are a critical part of blood sugar processing. But when they become insulin resistant more blood sugar remains circulating in your blood.
And that’s when things start to break down.
Your blood sugar soars. You end up with a much higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And of course, all the complications that go with those conditions too.
Stick to a sleep schedule to stay healthy
Sleeping late can harm your health. But don’t make the mistake of opting for being sleep deprived, either. There are ALSO consequences for regularly sleeping less than six hours a night.
For example, your risk of heart attack, stroke, and depression, skyrocket.
Your best bet is to aim for seven to eight hours of solid, quality sleep EVERY night. And yes, that means on the weekends too.
Need to reset your routine? Following are a few tips to get your improved sleeping schedule on track…
- Stick it: Stick to the same bedtime EVERY night. And get up at the same time EVERY morning. This will help reset your biological clock.
- Settle in: Start winding down at least an hour before bed every night. Switch from stimulating activities like internet or TV to something calm like reading.
- Light it up: Turn on all the lights and throw open the curtains in the mornings. This tells your body it’s time to wake up and get moving.
Now let’s face it, there will still be times when your schedule gets knocked off. Don’t stress out about it.
The occasional late night, or sleeping late from time to time, won’t hurt. But when it becomes a pattern, it can start to harm your health. In less than two weeks your weight AND blood sugar can start to climb.
So commit to getting a good, consistent night’s sleep EVERY night. And you’ll be rewarded with great health EVERY day.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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