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Does a weekend lie-in make up for sleep deprivation during the week?

The short answer: to some extent.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology deprived 30 healthy men and women of 2 hours of sleep each night for a week.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that sleep deprivation led to higher levels of sleepiness, decreased daytime performance and an increase in cell activity that can lead to inflammation.

After 2 days of recovery sleep (similar to the effect of a weekend lie-in), stress hormone levels fell, levels of sleepiness (subjective and objective) returned to normal and stress levels returned to normal.

However, daytime performance levels did not improve after the recovery period.

So, in conclusion - a lie-in on the weekend can help reverse many of the effects of sleep deprivation during the week... but not all of them.

It is worth mentioning that this study only reduced individual sleep time from 8 hours per night to 6 hours per night - and only for a week.

When it comes to reversing the effects of long-term sleep deprivation, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of a weekend lie-in.

Source: American Journal of Physiology

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Last updated: February 14, 2014

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

Leave a Comment

  • Amanda
    March 4, 2014, 3:47 pm

    As the article states, sleeping in on the weekend may help with a few of the effects of sleep deprivation, but definitely not all. Sleep is very important to overall health, so making sure sleep is a priority in your life can help in many different ways. Long term sleep loss probably won’t be solved with just a couple days of recovery sleep. Sleep loss can have lasting effects on your body, so the quicker you can turn around your sleep habits the better. Instead of waiting for the weekends to attempt to ‘catch-up’ on sleep, try planning a bedtime and wake-up time for each day to give your body the sleep it requires.