If you’re only getting six hours of a shut-eye a night, sleeping in on the weekend won’t be enough to recover all the health benefits lost from not getting enough rest during the week.
Slated for presentation on Wednesday at Associated Professional Sleep Societies, the results of a new study led by Dr. Alexandros N. Vgontzas, professor of psychiatry and endowed chair in sleep disorders medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine, showed that the adverse effects of sleep loss are greater than we usually think. It’s likely that the effects cumulate over time, as we head back to the office every Monday.
The researchers monitored 34 participants with an average age of 25, and with no history of sleep problems. After six nights of six hours of sleep, the participants felt and acted sleepier. They also had poor psychomotor skills, compared to their normally rested selves. When the participants were given two nights to rest up, their performance on tests didn’t bounce back all the way.
But there’s a silver lining for women. A weekend’s worth of deep sleep had more rejuvenating powers for the study’s female participants. We’re better able to recover from a busy work week by staying in bed on Saturday and Sunday.