Circulating the media last week was a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research claiming that you might be able to reduce your risk of early death by catching up on sleep at the weekend.
The results found that adults under the age of 65 who only got five hours of sleep or less a night, for seven days a week, had a higher risk of early death than those who consistently got six or seven hours. But those who made up for it at the weekend by sleeping in had no raised mortality risk compared with the steady sleepers suggesting that short (weekday) sleep may be compensated for during the weekend.
Unfortunately sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t make up for chronic sleep debt caused by workweek sleep loss. Just a few days of lost sleep can have cumulative adverse effects including increased daytime sleepiness, worsened daytime performance, an increase in molecules that are a sign of inflammation in the body and impaired blood sugar regulation.
Recovery sleep over a weekend may help you feel less tired but it can disrupt your normal ‘go to bed – get up’ routine and thus impacts on your overall sleep quality. Instead trying taking a 20 minute power nap on weekend afternoons, ideally between 2 and 3pm.
While it’s interesting to see the evidence growing around a person’s average amount of sleep, there is no substitute for having a regular sleep pattern. Consistency is key!
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