It’s no secret that sleeplessness can wreak all kinds of havoc on our bodies, from random weight gain to depression, but researchers now believe it’s not only the duration but the regularity of sleep that significantly affects our health.
Even if you’re a strict bed-by-10:30 person Monday to Thursday, if you’re staying up late Friday and Saturday and lying in until the following afternoon, you’re probably suffering from social jet lag — so named because it affects your internal clock similarly to when you travel from one time zone to another.
A team of researchers from the University of Arizona discovered that disrupting your regular sleep schedule in this way does more than just make Monday suck. It can cause an 11% increase in the likelihood of suffering from heart disease at some point.
“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,” said lead author Sierra B. Forbush.
While never having a late one is frankly unrealistic, try to avoid doing it over two consecutive nights. It turns out getting proper ZZZs is about the most important thing you can do for your health, so safeguard those hours.