The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - B + S -

Re­mem­ber when you were a kid and fell asleep at the same time ev­ery night? You might want to start do­ing that again. A US study has re­vealed that peo­ple who sleep and wake at ir­reg­u­lar times weigh more, are more likely to be stressed and de­pressed, have higher blood sugar and pres­sure, and are more at risk of heart at­tack.

The next step is to fig­ure out if sleep is the cause or ef­fect. “From our study, we can’t con­clude that sleep ir­reg­u­lar­ity re­sults in health risks, or whether health con­di­tions af­fect sleep,” ex­plains lead au­thor, Dr Jes­sica Lunsford-Avery, from the Duke Univer­sity School of Medicine. “Per­haps there’s some­thing about obe­sity that dis­rupts sleep reg­u­lar­ity ... per­haps poor sleep in­ter­feres with me­tab­o­lism, which can lead to weight gain.”

While more re­search is needed, the find­ings sug­gest that track­ing sleep reg­u­lar­ity could help in pre­dict­ing some­one’s risk of heart and meta­bolic dis­ease. That’s got to be worth an early night!

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