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Can You Catch Up on Sleep?

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Whether you’re currently working, have kids, or are dealing with both scenarios at the same time, sleep can sometimes feel like a luxury. While most of us know that we function better on more than a few hours of quality shut-eye a night, science is now starting to link constant short sleep duration with an increased rate of mortality, which is definitely not a fun thing to think about!

But those of us struggling to get more sleep during the week can rest a little easier thanks to two studies that show sleeping in on the weekends can actually benefit our health.

How Sleeping In Benefits Our Health

The first study that brings good news for those of us who like to stay in bed on the weekends had 30 individuals (men and women) participate in a sleep laboratory experiment where their sleep was restricted to six hours of sleep for six nights, and then increased to 10 hours of sleep for three nights. At the end of the small trial, researchers concluded that “extended recovery sleep over the weekend reverses the impact of one work week of mild sleep restriction on daytime sleepiness, fatigue . . . and reduces cortisol levels.” The one thing recovery sleep didn’t help with was performance around reaction times.

The second study, this one much larger in scope (43,880 people were followed for 13 years) found that “compensatory sleeping” (aka catching up on sleep on the weekend) may have a positive effect on the association between sleep and mortality.

The bottom line: while adequate sleep every single night is preferable when it comes to overall health, giving yourself time on the weekends to sleep in may be beneficial.

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