Between a bananas work schedule and social jet lag, it’s easy to understand why our relationship with sleep is such a hot mess — especially now that squeezing in “just one more thing” before bed is the status quo. This may make you feel better in the short-term, but new research suggests losing as little as 30 minutes of shuteye on weekdays not only effs with your body weight, but your metabolism too.
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College studied the sleep habits of 522 participants who completed 7-day sleep diaries and calculated their weekday sleep debt — the amount of sleep they should be getting compared to how long they actually slept. Their height and weight were recorded to determine obesity status, their waistline was measured for belly fat, and their blood samples were analyzed for insulin sentivity.
Compared with participants who had no weekday sleep debt, those who cut their shuteye short during the week were 72% more likely to be overweight. After six months, researchers were able to link weekday sleep debt to obesity and insulin resistance — and after one year, for every 30 minutes of sleep lost during the week, the risk of obesity and diabetes increased by 17 and 39 percent, respectively.
“Sleep loss is widespread in modern society, but only in the last decade have we realized its metabolic consequences,” Shahrad Taheri, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and lead study author said in a statement. “Our findings suggest avoiding sleep debt could have positive benefits for waistlines and metabolism.”
Many of us try to make up for lost winks by sleeping in over the weekend, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, as your sleep debt increases, it gets harder and harder to “pay back.” So if you find your weekend nap isn’t so much a nap as it is a coma, it might be time to change your relationship status with sleep from “It’s Complicated” to something that shows you’re committed.
READ MORE: 12 Totally Legit Excuses to Take a Nap Today