According to the research abstract published recently in an online supplement of Sleep, social jet lag has emerged as an important circadian marker for health outcomes.
The preliminary results of a new study show that social jet lag - difference between weekday and weekend sleep - is connected with poor health, worse mood, and increased sleepiness and fatigue. Each hour of social jet lag is also related to a 11% increase in the likelihood of heart disease. These effects are independent of the duration of the sleep and insomnia symptoms, which are associated with both social jet lag and health.
These results indicate that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health,"
Lead author Sierra B. Forbush, an undergraduate research assistant in the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
"This suggests that a regular sleep schedule may be an effective, relatively simple, and inexpensive preventative treatment for heart disease as well as many other health problems."
The research team, led by senior author Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MTR, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program, utilized data from the community-based Sleep and Healthy Activity, Diet, Environment, and Socialization (SHADES) study. They analyzed survey responses from 984 adults in the age group of 22-60 years and assessed social jet lag using the Sleep Timing Questionnaire.
The survey questions also assessed sleep duration, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, and sleepiness. Social jet lag was calculated by subtracting the weekday from the weekend sleep midpoint. A standardized scale was used to self-report the overall health.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests 7 or more hours of sleep per night regularly for adults to promote optimal health. In addition to adequate duration, healthy sleep requires good quality, appropriate timing, and regularity.