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
Last updated: February 14, 2014