Disappointing news for those who neglect the quality of sleep on weekdays and try for extra sleep at the weekends.
Many of us look forward to a beautiful Saturday morning at the end of the working week. No need to set an alarm clock… you open your eyes, luxuriate in your bed, you fall asleep again… then an unhurried late breakfast, smoothly turning into dinner. There is an opinion that over the weekend you can catch up on all the lost melatonin during the week, and recover.
According to Swedish biologists, people who get enough sleep at least at the weekend live longer than those who sleep less than 5 hours on average per day. However, they only investigated sleep in the context of life expectancy.
Other results were obtained by American researchers in 2015. They compared the physiological indicators of those who got enough sleep throughout the week to those who “slept in” at the weekend. The latter, compared with the control group, had elevated cholesterol and insulin levels, a tendency to obesity, high blood pressure and a serious metabolic disorder. In this study, the researchers did not take life expectancy into account.
The work of researchers from the University of Colorado, published in March of this year in the journal ‘Current Biology’ attempts to clarify this controversial issue. They assessed sleep duration, circadian rhythms, weight fluctuations, energy balance and insulin sensitivity in 36 young healthy volunteers over 9 consecutive nights.
Participants were arbitrarily divided into three groups. Volunteers from the first control group throughout the experiment slept for 9 hours a day. The second group slept for 5 hours on weekdays with recovery on weekends, and the third for 5 hours on all nine nights. The obtained results contradict the data of the possibility of restoring the body at the weekend. Participants who made up for lack of sleep on Saturday and Sunday, as well as those who did not get enough sleep for all nine days, had low insulin sensitivity. They also had circadian rhythm disturbances, slow metabolism and a tendency to gain weight. The researchers also noted that participants from the second group had difficulty falling asleep before the start of the working week.
Lack of sleep is a common problem in the modern rhythm of life, but a long sleep at the weekend will not help get rid of the consequences of sleep deprivation on weekdays. Depriving our body of a much needed “reset”, we not only become distracted and suffer from bad moods, but also risk seriously undermining our health.