Catching Up On Sleep Does Not Reverse Sleep Loss

sleeping habits

During the work week it can be tough to get all of the sleep you need, so for many people it is a common practice to ‘catch up’ on sleep on the weekends. Does catching up on your sleep reverse the effects of sleep loss? According to a study published in the October 2013 issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, adding sleep to your weekend does not fix all of the damage caused by missing out on sleep during the week.

Researchers monitored the sleep of 30 healthy adults on a 13-day sleep schedule included four nights of normal (eight hour) sessions of sleep and then six nights of waking up two hours earlier, then three nights of sleeping for a 10 hours. By the end of the 13-day sleep schedule, the cycle would follow regular sleep, too little sleep, and recovery sleep. Researchers monitored brain waves, tracked alertness during waking hours, and recorded inflammatory and stress hormone levels through blood samples.

After the sleep restricted nights, the adults were tired and did not perform as well on their attention tests. They also had an increased in an inflammatory hormone in the blood. Once they were allowed the recovery nights, the adults were less tired, the inflammatory hormone was no longer present in the blood, but performance on the attention tests did not get any better. These results show recovery sleep as benefiting in certain ways but not fully reversing all of the effects of sleep loss.

A sleep pattern with lower amount of sleep per night could change your performance at work. After several nights, work output could be affected. There is evidence of a change in immune system response and stress response. The study did not measure the long-term effects of the sleep restriction/sleep recovery pattern. Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, negative mood, and decreased productivity.

Overall, it seems important to not get caught in a pattern of varying the amount of sleep you get in any drastic manger. Sleep researchers at Harvard Medical School say that keeping a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends, not only maintains the timing of the body’s internal clock but may also help you fall asleep and wake up more easily.

Irregular sleep patterns and sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your daily activities. Contact FusionSleep if you are concerned about your sleep deprivation or irregular sleep patterns. Assessing your patterns could lead to more productivity, elevated mood, and less health problems.