Could lie-ins at the weekend make you smarter and slimmer?

Marie Claire Dorking
Is lying in at the weekend good or bad for your health? [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]
Is lying in at the weekend good or bad for your health? [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]

Science has given us a reason to hit snooze and enjoy a guilt-free lie in at the weekend (as if we needed one anyway!)

A recent study from South Korea claims that grabbing a few extra zeds on a Saturday and Sunday could actually make you cleverer.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the same research also revealed that stockpiling the weekend ZZZs could also have a positive impact on your waistline.

The study, published in the journal, Sleep, the study, compared the sleeping habits of 2,156 adults to their BMIs (Body Mass Index) and found that those who didn’t get enough sleep during the week but made up for it at the weekend had a slightly lower BMI than those who slept too little and didn’t compensate on Saturday and Sunday.

“Weekend sleep extension may have biological protective effects in preventing sleep-restriction induced or related obesity,” study authors explained.

Could weekend lie-ins be good for your waistline? [Photo: Public Domain Pictures via Pexels]
Could weekend lie-ins be good for your waistline? [Photo: Public Domain Pictures via Pexels]

Though we’ve known for a while that sleep deprivation can play havoc with our waistlines since those not getting enough shut eye are more likely to opt for unhealthy foods the next day, this study actually reveals another benefit to sleeping in at the weekend – intelligence.

We all know that when we’re tired our brain performs on a go-slow. But while you’re lying in your body gets the chance to process information that your brain previously couldn’t. So information it previously couldn’t retain starts to come back to you.

But while this is undoubtedly good news, sadly it doesn’t reveal the entire sleep story as turns out there are some negative impacts to those long, leisurely weekend lie-ins to consider too.

So we’ve put together some pro’s and cons of hitting the weekend snooze.

You can’t catch up on sleep

Though its tempting to spend the weekend in bed to catch up on those missing zeds according to Silentnight’s sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, this belief could be seriously damaging our sleep pattern. “While you can catch up to some extent, you can’t fully recover,” she warns. “Instead get into a good, regular routine if you want to really reap the healing benefits of sleep, and beat your sleep problems for good.”

Your body clock prefers a regular wake time

Ever wondered why you wake up just before your alarm? No you’re not psychic, it’s down to your internal body clock, which is a sucker for routine, which means those Saturday/Sunday snoozefests might have to go. Sleep experts suggest avoiding big difference between wake-up times on weekdays and weekends, or you could risk re-setting your rise and shine regime.

The pros and cons of a weekend lie in [Photo: Kristin Vogt via Pexels]
The pros and cons of a weekend lie in [Photo: Kristin Vogt via Pexels]

Ditching weekend lie-ins might improve your sleep quality

Why? Because sleep experts believe that by sticking to the same snooze rituals you create a habit that the body then wants to stick to, so it tells you that its tired at the chosen time.

Many studies have shown that this kind of repetition is self-reinforcing, indicating that going to bed and waking at the same time can help people fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.

And on the flipside? “Lack of routine causes sluggishness and fatigue and can also lead to weight gain,” explains Sarah Jones the UK’s leading lifestyle and holistic

“Additionally, people who oversleep are more likely to follow poor dietary patterns, exercise less and even suffer mental health problems. If we adopt the ‘routine’ approach it does mean end of weekend lie ins! But we will be less reliant on catching up on our energy all day,” she continues.

So while there are positives and negatives for spending your weekend stockpiling the snoozes, its fair to say that regular stints of sleep are better for you than burning the candle all week and bed-crashing all weekend.

But when life inevitably gets that little bit too much, it’s comforting to know that there are both positives and negatives to come from your must-have weekend lie in. Na Night.

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