Study: Sleeping In On Weekends Might Not Be Enough

By on October 24th, 2013

For Tina Bunde, sleeping in has its consequences.

Bunde, an employee at Trader Joe’s in Gainesville, said she feels more tired when she has the opportunity to sleep late versus when she rises at a decent hour every morning.

“I do sleep more on the weekends than the weekdays, but when I do, I only feel more rested for a short amount of time, like 30 minutes or so, then I feel thrown off,” Bunde said.

The American Physiological Society released a study this month stating, “Sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t fix all the deficits caused by workweek sleep loss.”

The study examined 30 adults’ sleep habits by reducing or increasing the number of hours they slept for about two weeks.

Most of the sleep subjects were sleepier “after five days of restricted sleep and their performance on attention tests deteriorated,” according to the study.

Recovery sleep on the weekends might not be enough to overcome sleep deprivation from the workweek, researchers indicated.

“Two nights of extended recovery sleep may not be sufficient to overcome behavioral alertness deficits resulting from mild sleep restriction,” according to the study, which cited implications for people with safety-critical professions, such as health-care workers and transportation system employees like drivers and pilots.

“We see shift workers suffering a lot from sleep disorders and it’s true, sleep cannot be recovered once its lost,” said Carolyn Ivey, a manager and therapist at the Sleep Disorders Center for North Florida Regional Healthcare. “A few hours of sleep won’t make a difference.”

Aside from feeling more tired, inconsistent sleep habits have some serious consequences on the body. “Lack of concentration, memory problems and depression are a few side effects of improper sleep habits,” she said.

It’s also important to explore any underlying problems with a person’s sleep habits, Ivey said.

“Disorders like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome — when you feel the urge to move your leg while sleeping due to odd sensations — could be the result of disrupted sleep,” Ivey said.

Lifestyle choices could contribute to individuals having trouble falling sleep or staying asleep. Anyone suffering from sleep issues should see a physician, Ivey said.

“In this society most of us are sleep deprived from poor sleep hygiene, stress or insomnia,” she said. “People should avoid things like alcohol four to six hours before going to bed because it disrupts sleep and causes you to wake up too early or in the middle of the night. Heavy meals and working out too close to bedtime can also be other disruptions.”

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