We’ve all done this either because of school, work or other responsibilities – we’ve skipped sleep, hoping to make up for the hours of lost sleep over the weekend. But can sleeping over the weekend help us erase the consequences of not sleeping enough overall? No. We’re still vulnerable to the many health-related issues that accompany sleep deprivation.
A new study carried out by researchers from the University Of Colorado Boulder, and published in the Current Biology journal shows that the impacts of sleep deprivation on your health cannot be undone by catching up on sleep over the weekend.
What Did The Research Reveal?
To study how catching up on sleep after days of sleep deprivation impacted one’s health, researchers employed volunteers and divided them into three groups. These participants did not have any sleep-related problems or other health issues.
Here’s how the three group groups were treated differently:
- The first group was allowed to sleep plenty for nine days
- The second group was permitted to sleep for five hours for all nine nights
- The third group was given five hours of sleep for five days, then two nights of sleeping as much as they wanted, and then again two nights of limited sleep
The results of the experiment showed that the third group slept only an hour longer on the weekend. However, they ate less calories than those who were not allowed to sleep as much as they wanted during the weekend, i.e. the second group. Thought their appetite reduced by a bit, their insulin sensitivity continued to be low.
When the third group’s sleep was restricted again for two days after the weekend, the minimal health benefits of their catching up on sleep were lost and their health worsened.
In contrast to the second group which didn’t catch up with sleep on the weekend, group three struggled with insulin sensitivity in their muscles and liver additionally when their sleep was restricted once again, a negative effect the second group didn’t experience.
This shows that you cannot catch up on lost sleep. The impact of sleep loss on your health remains despite you trying to sleep more on weekends after a hectic sleep deprived week.
Sleep deprivation comes with a horde of negative side effects. It can lower your decision-making skills, problem solving abilities, make you feel fatigued, etc. Sleep loss is also linked to diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, kidney problems, and more.
And unfortunately, there is no such thing as making up for the sleep you have lost. A new study shows that those who sleep for a few hours during the week and try to catch up on sleep over the weekends can still not wipe off the negative implications that sleep deprivation has caused for their health. This stresses on the need to sleep well as without sleeping enough, we are at an increased risk of developing health complications.