Your weekend lie in won't make up for your Monday to Friday 'sleep debt'

Sleeping more at the weekends won’t counteract sleep deprivation throughout the week. [Photo: Getty]
Sleeping more at the weekends won’t counteract sleep deprivation throughout the week. [Photo: Getty]

Many of us rely on a weekend lie in to “catch up” on sleep we’ve missed out on during the week.

While, from Monday to Friday, early wake ups are non-negotiable for getting to work or taking kids to school, Saturdays and Sundays are a time when we’re more likely to be snoozing until mid-morning.

However, a new study has found this does us no favours, health-wise.

While you might feel better after getting those extra ZZZs in at the weekend, it is not enough to reduce the health risks of insufficient sleep during the week, according to the University of Colorado Boulder study.

These risks include metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.

READ MORE: This breathing technique will help you sleep

In the study, participants were split into three groups. The first group, which was the control group, slept nine hours every night for nine nights, the second slept five hours a night over the same period.

The third slept five hours a week for five week days, followed by as much sleep as they liked over the weekend, and then two further days of restricted sleep.

The “weekend recovery” group was found to have an increased weight gain compared to the control group. They also ate more after dinner compared to those who got sufficient sleep, and experienced a lower sensitivity to insulin – the hormone which helps to regulate blood sugar.

READ MORE: Why ‘night owls’ struggle at work

A higher sensitivity to insulin is generally considered to be a sign of good health, according to Diabetes UK.

Similar results were observed in the second group, who were sleep deprived throughout the experiment period.

The findings suggest we should place more importance on getting adequate sleep through the week, rather than simply during the weekend.

If you need help getting up on a Saturday or Sunday, a sleep expert recently revealed his tips for getting out of bed in the morning.

Neil Robinson, chief sleep officer at Sealy UK, advised playing music first thing and placing your alarm clock far, far away from your bed.