We’ve all done it. You have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, and you figure you’ll make up for it by sleeping in during the weekend.
French researchers found that doesn’t really work.
“The right amount of sleep and quality of sleep is cumulative and needs to be something that is regular in your life and you can’t make it up,” says sleep dentist Dr. Hal Stewart. He specializes in disorders like sleep apnea that lead to sleep deprivation. He sues this analogy: “If you ate really badly for five days and then you ate healthy on Saturday and Sunday, the cumulative effect of that would not be healthy.”
The French team studied adults who habitually only got six hours or less of sleep on weekdays. In their examination of 1,200 participants in a study, the researchers found that those “short sleepers” accounted for about a third of the people they looked at. Upon further examination they found those individuals often had the intent of catching up on weekend, but that found that 75% of the time that never happened. Best intentions and all of that.
They found on average people were getting about 6 hours and 42 minutes of sleep a night, and 7 hours 26 minutes on weekends. About a fourth of people nap during the day. Only 18% of those “short sleepers” were ever able to make up the deficit.
photo: getty images