Doing this in bed could hurt your health
For many people, the weekend means trying to catch a few extra zzzs.
Social jetlag’s effects of inconsistent sleep patterns are similar to what one would experience when traveling across time zones.
The new research shows that social jetlag can lead to poor health, worse mood and increased sleepiness and fatigue. According to researchers, each hour of social jet lag also is associated with an 11 percent increase in the likelihood of heart disease.
“These results underscore the importance of a regular sleep schedule, and not just the duration of sleep,” says Dr. Douglas Dorman, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Yorkville, Ill. “It is encouraging to see more evidence that regular sleep may provide simple and effective prevention of a number of health problems, including heart disease.”
Irregular sleep also can lead to weight gain, says Dr. Dorman.
“Certain hormones that energize the metabolism, control the appetite and process glucose are secreted while we sleep,” he explains. “An imbalance of these hormones and their functions can increase the risk of developing diabetes or obesity.”
Dr. Dorman has some advice on how to fall asleep and wake up at a sensible time in order to prevent unhealthy sleep patterns:
Having trouble falling asleep at a reasonable time? Try these tips:
- Listen to soothing sounds
- Eliminate caffeine and alcohol before bed
- Adjust the air temperature
- Avoid the TV right before bed
- Limit the amount of naps during the day
Having trouble waking up at a reasonable time? Try these tips:
- Allow the bright sunlight to enter your room in the morning
- Place an alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed
- Have your coffee set on a timer so it is ready when you wake
- Play fast-tempo music
- Create an incentive to get out of bed, such as a breakfast choice
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.