Do You Sleep in on Weekends? This Can Damage Your Health

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on November 23, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When you have to chose between sleep and work, work wins. That leaves many lawyers with huge sleep deficits. After a deadline crunch leaves you working ten hours a day or more, six days a week, many esquires try to catch up by sleeping in all weekend long.

But sleeping in on days-off, it turns out, could be hazardous to your health.

Keeping a Consistent Internal Clock

For many associates, all nighters followed by sleep binges are the norm. But regular changes to your sleeping patterns could have serious, negative health consequences, according to a new study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (Certainly you have a subscription.) It looked at 447 healthy, middle-aged men and women to see how sleeping in effected their health.

According to the study, shifts in sleeping schedule are connected to metabolic problems like insulin resistance and weight gain. That could lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease down the line. "It's not clear yet that this is a long-term effect," lead researcher Patricia Wong explained. "But we think of this as people having to sleep and work out of sync with their internal clock," leading to negative health effects.

So think twice before hitting snooze on Sunday.

How Much Sleep Do You Need After All?

Four hours and a mid-day nap? A solid eight? How much sleep you need is actually a highly contested issue. In the United States, most people sleep slightly over seven and a half hours a night (which seems indulgently long to us). That's in the range recommended by experts, however, which is usually seven to nine hours for adults. Anything under six hours and you might be facing major health risks and an early death.

But if you can't dedicate a third of your day to sleeping, don't double down on life insurance just yet. At least some studies show that those who sleep less (usually six to seven hours) are healthier and live longer. A review of hunter-gatherer societies also showed six and a half hours to be the average, so consider adding a shorter night to your paleo diet lifestyle.

Just be consistent -- or as consistent as lawyering will allow you to be.

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