Catching up on sleep during weekends may not be useful, finds study

Study suggests that extending sleep on the weekend may not help undo the impact of poor sleep during workdays

New study debunks 3 common sleep myths, here’s what you need to know
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TGIF! Many people are always excited to be on that day when they can say the week is finally over. This means they could get free time to drink beer with friends or spend more time to catch up on sleep on the weekend.

People lose sleep during the week because of responsibilities at home or in the office. You may be working overtime to avoid taking extra tasks for the weekend.

Saturday and Sunday can be the best days to regain all the lost energy in the past days. You adjust your wake time from 6 a.m. for a workday to 11 a.m. on a weekend.

But spending an entire morning in your bed may have some negative effects, according to Katherine Dudley, director of the Cambridge Health Alliance Sleep Medicine Program.

“Despite the fact that the number of hours of sleep, when averaged, may approach the seven to nine hours per night recommended by most professional societies, the ‘average’ can hide some truths,” Dudley said in a blog post on Harvard Medical School. “The daily amount, quality and regularity of bed/wake time all seem to matter too.”

A new study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggests that adjusting bedtime hours on other days may not reverse the effects of sleep deprivation. The participants in the study who either spent five hours of sleep during the week or slept longer on the weekend experienced health consequences.

The people who did weekend catch-ups for sleep remained sleep-deprived and experienced similar effects with those without catch-up sleep. They appeared with lower energy expenditure, higher calorie intake after dinner, increased weight and insulin changes.

“Unfortunately, this new study suggests that extending sleep on the weekend doesn’t seem to undo the impact of short sleep,” Dudley pointed out.

Effects of poor sleep

Dudley said many people tend to ignore how sleep affects their body. A separate study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, found that lack of sleep at night can contribute to a number of conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

However, researchers have yet to determine how changes in sleep quality and time directly harm the body. To avoid health problems, Dudley suggested that people give time to rest and sleep during workdays.

Short naps of 15 to 20 minutes may also help reduce sleepiness. Dudley said “sleep is preventive medicine” that could reduce your risk of having diseases and improve your daily well-being.

Source: Medical Daily