I always advise my clients not to let their children sleep late on weekends and vacations, no matter how delicious it feels.
There’s accumulating evidence that the same is true for adults – that a consistent bedtime and morning wake time actually reduces the risk of heart disease.
One study showed that varying your bedtime and the amount you sleep each night increases your risk of plaque in your arteries. The effect was especially pronounced in those whose sleep varied by more than 2 hours per night.
Another study showed that adults with erratic sleep schedules had twice the risk of heart disease versus those who did not.
A third study showed an increased risk of mood disorders as well as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (As a former NICU nurse who worked overnights 3-4 times a week, I am not at all surprised to hear about the impact on mood. Going home at 8 am to sleep away a beautiful Saturday was certainly depressing. But this impacts even those with much less dramatic sleep schedules.)
The American Heart Association now asks for sleep duration in calculating risk of cardiovascular disease.
Apart from cardiovascular reasons, you will also feel better if you keep a regular sleep schedule, no matter how ludicrous that sounds. See, when you sleep late one day, you have social jet lag the next, which makes Monday morning that much more painful when it rolls around.
So, see, parents, your young children are actually doing you a favor by waking you up early on weekends.
You can repay the favor by waking them up early when they reach their adolescent years.
If you'd love to get your whole family sleeping more reasonable hours, schedule a free consult today. You can feel amazing in 2 weeks or less, guaranteed.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.