Sleeping in on weekends may actually cause you more harm than good

Most of us look forward to sleeping in on the weekend after a long week of work. But a recent study found this could actually be counter-productive

Sleeping too long can actually a negative impact on your body
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Sleeping too long can actually a negative impact on your body

Having a long lie in feels really good. That is what most people think, but a researcher has recently discovered that these lie-ins we love and look forward to so much might not actually be such a good idea.

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It feels really good to have a lie-in, but that doesn't mean it is actually good for the body.

Volunteers split into three test groups

Researcher Christopher Depner, a researcher at the University of Colorado, has recently proven that sleeping in could actually be harmful to the body and completely unnecessary. How did his team reach this saddening conclusion? The research group he runs observed the sleeping patterns and behaviour of 36 healthy adults over a period of nine nights. These groups of adults were then divided into three groups:

  • A group that was allowed to sleep for nine hours a night
  • Another that was only allowed to sleep for around five hours a night
  • And a final group that mixed the two, i.e. they slept for five hours a night during the week and as long as they wanted at the weekend

The results showed that getting more sleep on the weekend actually has no positive impacts on the body’s metabolism. In fact, the opposite tends to happen. Sleeping for a long time is actually quite harmful and researchers observed a ‘decrease in insulin sensitivity.' This means that the body found it more difficult to break down sugar in the body.

Why is this?

It seems our brain experiences a kind of jet lag between weekdays and weekends. This delay leads to a ‘desynchronisation because sleep prevents the body from being exposed to the morning light.’ Therefore, it is actually better to always get up at around the same time so that the body and brain don’t have to get back into a rhythm every week. By waking up regularly, you can learn to combat fatigue that could help you sleep less but feel more awake.

Why it's a good idea to sleep in on the weekend Why it's a good idea to sleep in on the weekend