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Sleeping In This Weekend? You May Want to Reconsider

By Sandy Schroeder

How many times have you struggled through the week, getting by with a few hours of sleep each night, and then sleeping late on the weekend? Making up for lost sleep on the weekend sounds good, but you may have discovered it can leave you feeling confused and foggy.

University of Colorado researchers found out what really happens, publishing their studies in Current Biology. They created three test groups.

The first group got nine hours of sleep for nine nights

The second group got less than five hours per night for nine nights

The third group got less than five hours during the week and slept as much as they wanted on the weekends, returning to the five-hour schedule on Monday

Researcher Conclusions

Sleeping in on the weekend will not remove the negative effects of sleep lost during the week, and weekend rebounding patterns of sleep can accelerate problems caused by sleeplessness.

Looking Closer

  • The groups who were losing sleep had more snacks in the evening and gained weight during the study
  • The group that slept late on the weekends really only slept about an extra hour, but they ate fewer evening snacks than the other groups
  • Weekend sleepers lost the benefits of weekend sleeping when they returned to the reduced sleep schedule during the week

I have tested the rebound schedule, sleeping late on the weekend and getting by on five or six hours of sleep during the week. By the time I reached Friday night I was in serious need of sleep, and blew away much of the weekend as I slept late. I compounded the problem by staying up late Saturday night, and then sleeping even later on Sunday morning. By the time I walked into work on Monday, my body and mind were thoroughly confused, and I faced a whole week ahead.

What Can Happen

Doctors warn us chronic sleep loss can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and kidney disease. Psychiatrists say ongoing reduced sleep can increase anxiety and depression, lead to substance use, accelerate inflammation and affect memory.

Pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp said one night of six hours of sleep can double the risk of car accidents. Over a period of 10 to 14 days it is the equivalent of being drunk.

Turn Things Around

If you are losing sleep on a regular basis, see if you can get 7-9 hours every night.

  • Develop a sleep ritual with soft music, a cup of tea, or a warm bath to signal the body to wind down
  • Get up and go to bed the same time every day
  • Make your bedroom a sleep retreat with comfortable pillows and mattress, light-blocking drapes, and an air filter to screen noise
  • Leave your phone, TV, and laptop outside, or at least turn everything off two hours before bedtime
  • Work to reduce stress issues such as finance, family or health

Make the effort and enjoy better health.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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