If you usually fall into the office with wide-eyed eyes, grab a caffeinated beverage as if it were your one and only lifeline, we have bad news for you.
No matter how much extra rest you have accumulated during your days off, a greasy weekly break is not an adequate solution for a sleepless nights sleep. Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, have written a study, which is now published in Current Biology, with the unfortunate conclusion that "catching up" at the weekend will not undo the damage caused by deprivation of sleep during the week. And, perhaps even more frustrating, trying to add more ZZZ during your free time can actually make things worse if you resume sleep deprivation early in the next business week.
"Our findings suggest that the usual behavior of burning the candle during the week and trying to compensate for it at the weekend is not an effective health strategy," said Kenneth Wright, director of the UC lab. Boulder's Sleep and Chronobiology and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.
It is common knowledge that lack of sleep damages health. He has been linked to obesity and diabetes. Research suggests that it increases cravings, decreases insulin sensitivity and harms our ability to regulate sugar. Other studies associate lack of sleep with depression, neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease. It seems that even a night of restless sleep can be enough to affect the genes that control metabolic function.
Previous research suggests that sleeping more time on the weekend can help the body recover, at least a little – but this effect is dismally short and sweet.
Thus, to determine the adverse effects of our sleep on our health, Wright and his colleagues recruited 36 healthy adults aged 18 to 39 years and monitored their sleep for nine nights. The group was divided into three sub-groups: one group allowed to sleep nine hours a night, another maximum five hours a night and a third sleeping five hours maximum per night for five nights before two nights sleep. as long as they want, followed by two extra nights of restricted sleep.
The team noted an increase in nibbling, weight gain and reduced insulin sensitivity in both recovery groups. Volunteers allowed two days of sleep made show signs of improvement these days (for example, they nibble less), but the benefits disappear as soon as restricted sleep resumes. In addition, the sleep group actually showed worst results on measures such as insulin sensitivity at the end of the study. Those whose sleep was limited to five hours during the nine days recorded a 13% decrease in total insulin sensitivity of the body, while those who were allowed to fall asleep recorded decreases between 9 and 27%, the sensitivity of the liver and muscles being particularly low.
"In the end, we found no metabolic benefit in people who slept on weekends," said Chris Depner, senior author and assistant professor of research in integrative physiology.
"It could be that yo-yoing comes and goes – changing the time we eat, changing our circadian clock and then getting back to sleep is particularly disturbing," said Wright.
Sorry, guys. It seems that in matters of sleep, consistency is the key.