Is Sleeping In on Weekends Good for Your Health?

woman stretching out of bed at dawn

Sleeping late on the weekends to catch up on your zzz’s because you’re not getting enough good sleep during the week? Here’s how to deal with sleep debt and improve your sleep habits and routine.

Binge Sleeping Doesn’t Work

Hey sleepy head, are you trying to catch up on missed sleep during a busy week by sleeping in on the weekend? It may not be as good for your health as you think.

A 2017 study showed that women who spent two or more hours catching up on sleep over the weekend were more likely to have poor cardiovascular health. The findings suggest sleeping in over the weekend doesn’t counteract the harmful effects of not getting enough sleep the rest of the week — what researchers call sleep debt.1

More than 50 million U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep or have chronic sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia.2 That’s a lot of tired people!

You know that jittery feeling you get when you haven’t had enough sleep? Sleep deprivation can affect inflammation and our “fight or flight” stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. This can lead to high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stroke.3

Even just one hour less sleep per night than needed can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. Over time, it can negatively affect your energy levels and even your body’s ability to fight off infections.2 Now that’s a wake-up call!

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

So how do you keep your sleep account in balance? It’s best to get at least seven hours of sleep each night and to go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, said Michelle Albert, M.D., the study’s senior researcher and director of the NURTURE Center at University of California, San Francisco.

Changing up your sleep routine on the weekends could negatively affect circadian rhythms over time as well as other factors affecting your wellbeing and longevity.  And, it may make it that much harder to wake up early again on Monday morning!

The Takeaway: How to Rise and Shine

  • Adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day.
  • Don’t drastically change your sleep pattern from weekday to weekend.

Sources:
1 Catching up on sleep over the weekend may not help the heart, American Heart Association News, November 2017 https://news.heart.org/catching-sleep-weekend-may-not-help-heart/
2 Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, revised 2011 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf
3 Sleep Duration and Quality: Impact on Lifestyle Behaviors and Cardiometabolic Health, A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association, September 2016 http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/134/18/e367


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