March 23, 2019

Weekend Sleep Can't Compensate for Sleepless Weeknights

“For many people, missing an hour or two of sleep is no big deal; they stay up for one more episode on Netflix or stay out late on Friday, banking on catching their Z’s over the weekend. But a new study suggests that a Saturday snooze-in isn’t as refreshing as it seems, and there may be no way to reclaim the benefits of those lost hours.

Nicola Davis at The Guardian reports that previous studies have shown that missing sleep can disrupt the metabolism, and boost the chances for developing obesity or metabolic disorders like diabetes. Researchers wondered, however, if people could offset those ill-effects by adding on sleep at the end of the week.

To investigate, researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder recruited 36 participants between the ages of 18 and 39, each of whom spent a few nights in the sleep lab. One lucky group of eight was allowed to sleep up to nine hours for nine nights. The others were divided into two groups of 14, with all of them getting five or fewer hours of sleep per night. One of those groups, however, was allowed to choose their own bedtime and sleep in after five nights on the short sleep schedule to simulate a weekend of sleeping in.”

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