Sleep is very important because it’s a time that your body essentially sets itself up in many ways, such as determining its metabolic “settings” for the day. We’ve already talked about how sleep apnea can really interfere with your metabolism, making weight gain and diabetes more likely. Now a new study has shown that even something as simple as changing your bedtime on the weekends can contribute to metabolic disorders.

Weekends Might Be Undermining Your Health

This insight comes from the SWAN Sleep Study, a section of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). For this study, 370 women kept diaries on a number of health-related topics, including when they went to bed. Researchers analyzed four measures of sleep timing: mean bedtime, bedtime variability (how much bedtime changed from day to day), bedtime delay (staying up past the normal bedtime), and bedtime advance (going to bed early).

Body Mass Index (BMI) and insulin resistance (essentially, the degree of type 2 diabetes) were measured at the time of the diary and five years later.

They found that having a variable bedtime and staying up late were associated with higher insulin resistance. And that going to bed early was associated with a higher BMI. They noted that divisions between weekday and weekend sleep schedules were especially important in these associations.

It’s another reminder that as much as we might like staying up late (and sleeping in late) on the weekends, it’s much healthier to maintain a constant bedtime.

Sleep, Weight, and Diabetes

If you are having difficulty maintaining your weight and are struggling with prediabetes, examining your sleep schedule is a good place to start. Improving your sleep habits is an easy step that could potentially make a huge difference. Start by trying to make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night–don’t try to “catch up” on the weekends.

Next, make sure you are maintaining a consistent bedtime and waking time. This helps keep your circadian clock regular, which in turn helps your body manage energy consumption and storage (how many calories you burn and how much you store or retrieve from fat).

But if these changes aren’t making a difference in your energy level, you should consider the possibility that you have sleep apnea. To talk to an Omaha sleep dentist about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.