Sleeping Longer On Weekends Doesn’t Erase Sleep Debt

September 18, 2012

Biology

sleep-cycle

Unlike the popular belief that sleeping more on the weekends can help sleep deprived people catch up on sleep, a new sleep study has shown that sleeping in on the weekends will make you sleepier come Monday morning.

The scientists announced their findings through UT Southwestern.  A great myth of sleep deprivation is that if we miss sleep over the course of the week, we need to catch up on an hour-by-hour basis on the weekend, states Gregory Carter, a sleep medicine specialist at the UT Southwestern Medical Center.

sleep-weekend

The circadian cycle guides the body’s internal clock, and while people can delay their circadian clocks for up to one hour, the problem is that if they sleep in more on the weekends, the brain’s circadian clock can be delayed by up to two hours, making it challenging to fall asleep on Sundays and even more difficult when trying to wake up Monday mornings.

Turning in earlier is more effective that sleeping later. Trying to balance any sleep debt from the work week can be accomplished by spending eight hours straight in bed. Once people are really sleepy, their brains rest more efficiently.

In order to maintain the body’s internal clock, people should go to bed eight hours before their usual wake-up time. Many people have trouble with this, staying up later on Friday and Saturday nights, and choosing to sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays. When this pattern is combined with sleep-defeating action, like alcohol consumption, late-night social networking and emailing, it makes for a painful Monday morning.

[via UT Southwestern]

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One Response to “Sleeping Longer On Weekends Doesn’t Erase Sleep Debt”

  1. Ethan Green Says:

    This is very true – even people who try to stick to a regular sleep schedule often make the mistake of thinking a lie-in at the weekend won’t disrupt the pattern. But if you are serious about tackling insomnia for example, you need to be tough on yourself and stick to regular times for going to bed and getting up 7 days a week. It’s not easy, but it’s the best way:-)

    Reply

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