However, maintaining a solid sleep pattern still reigns!
For those who look forward to their weekend lie in, you've now got even more reason to make the most of them. The results of a recent study have revealed that extending your weekend lie-in after suffering from a week of sleep deprivation - can actually be beneficial for you!
Though maintaining a strict sleeping routine throughout the week is always recommended, for those who are prone to losing sleep throughout the week, the study concluded that catch-up sleep can potentially be good for your health and contribute to reducing the risk of developing health conditions later in life.
Benefits of catch-up sleep
The recent Swedish study went into sleep patterns and how the lack of sleep during the week and weekends can affect an individuals mortality rate. Researchers carried out a study over the course of 13 years from 1997 to December 2010, of 43,880 participants, using a questionnaire to gather information about their basic sleep habits.
Information was collated about the sleeping habits and the number of hours of sleep per night for each participant. The difference in their sleeping patterns on work nights and nights off was also taken into account, as well as other lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, coffee consumption and physical exercise. This was then compiled into a report with responses ranging from under 5 hours of sleep to over 9 hours.
While past studies declare that consistently suffering from lack of sleep or oversleeping could potentially contribute to a higher mortality rate, none have ever commented on the prospect of catch-up sleep.
Torbjörn Åkerstedt who is a professor at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, lead the study and has stated: “Because there are 5 weekdays and 2 weekend days, it is likely that self-reports of typical sleep duration more strongly reflect weekday sleep. Thus, it is of interest to investigate the relationship between weekend sleep duration and mortality, as well as the different patterns of sleep duration between weekday and weekend sleep.”
The accumulated data lead to a conclusion that both consistently over and under-sleeping throughout the whole week could eventually impact health negatively, while there was no adverse association with health when sleeping longer on weekends than on weekdays.
They concluded: “We suggest that this may reflect positive effects of compensatory sleep.”
Nothing beats a consistent and fulfilling sleep schedule
Despite what the studies relate, it has been highlighted that this is not the final conclusion on catch-up sleep and sleep experts are expecting further research to be carried out.
The chief of the division of sleep and chronobiology, Dr David Dinges, at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, feels that the findings from the study would benefit from continued research, advising: “The real question is whether there is, in fact, a build-up of deficit, or biological changes that are gradual over time, even though you get recovery sleep.”
Though the conclusion of the current study finds that consistent sleep deprivation can be tackled by sleeping longer on the weekends, it identifies that sleeping at the same time every night, including non-working days, will always remain the best option for your health and well-being.
This is dominantly due to an individual's circadian rhythm which can be agitated by erratic sleeping habits. By aiming to get the optimal amount of sleep at night whilst sleeping and waking at the same time every night, can potentially make all the difference for both your health and state of mind.
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