Study: 'Social jet lag' linked to increased risk of heart disease

Social jet lag, which occurs when individuals stay up and sleep in later during the weekend, may contribute to the development of heart disease, according to preliminary study results presented Monday during the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston.

For the study, researchers analyzed survey responses from 984 adults who participated in the Sleep and Healthy Activity, Diet, Environment and Socialization study. Survey questions assessed for cardiovascular disease, fatigue, insomnia, sleepiness and sleep duration. The research team associated each hour of social jet lag with an 11 percent increase in heart disease.

"These results indicate that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health," said lead author Sierra Forbush, an undergraduate research assistant in the Sleep and Health Research Program at Tucson-based University of Arizona. "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."

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