With our busy schedules and mounting stress levels, it is difficult to catch a good night’s sleep every day. Most people resort to sleeping in during weekends to make up for the loss during the weekdays. However, a recent study points out that it doesn’t work that way.
In fact, the study says that trying to play catch-up for a few days and then returning to poor sleep habits makes things worse.
"Our findings suggest that the common behaviour of burning the candle during the week and trying to make up for it on the weekend is not an effective health strategy," said senior author Kenneth Wright.
The study says although sleeping in during the weekend helps the body recover mildly, the effect doesn’t last.
As part of the study, the researchers enlisted 36 healthy adults age 18 to 39 to stay for two weeks in a laboratory, where their food intake, light exposure and sleep were monitored.
After the basic testing, the participants were put into groups. One was allowed plenty of time to sleep--9 hours each night for 9 nights. The second slept no more than 5 hours nightly for 5 days followed by a weekend when they could sleep as much as they liked before returning to 2 days of restricted sleep. The third group was allowed 5 hours per night over that same period.
Both sleep-restricted groups snacked more at night, gained weight and saw declines in insulin sensitivity during the study period. While those in the weekend recovery group saw mild improvements (including reduced nighttime snacking) during the weekend, those benefits went away when the sleep-restricted workweek resumed.
"In the end, we didn't see any benefit in any metabolic outcome in the people who got to sleep in on the weekend," said Chris Depner, lead author of the study.
The results were published in the Journal of Current Biology.