Health and Fitness

No, Sleeping Extra on Weekends Doesn't Repay Your Slept Debt

Think you're catching up on some zs? Think again.
IMAGE Warner Bros. Television
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The weekend is for unwinding. More often than not, we spend the entire weekend in bed. Napping, preferably. If you've been sleeping in, you know, in hopes of catching up to lost sleep, then we hate to break it to you but a study says it doesn't work that way.

"Weekend recovery or catch-up sleep does not appear to be an effective countermeasure strategy to reverse sleep loss induced disruptions of metabolism," says Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado Boulder.

The study, reported in Current Biology, was conducted to participants in three groups. The first group had nine hours of sleep for a week, the second group had just five, and the third group had five, too, but during the weekend its participants were allowed to sleep as much as they liked.

It was through that that the researchers found that the third group's body clock was timed later, thanks to extended sleeping during the weekend. Not only that, participants from the third group also ate more after dinner.

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"Our findings show that muscle- and liver-specific insulin sensitivity were worse in subjects who had weekend recovery sleep," Depner says, noting that those metabolic aberrations weren't seen in the people who got less sleep all along. "This finding was not anticipated and further shows that weekend recovery sleep is not likely [to be] an effective sleep-loss countermeasure regarding metabolic health when sleep loss is chronic."

Oh, well. At least sleeping extra on the weekend still feels like you're making up for lost sleep, right?

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Paolo Chua
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