Our work life can get quite hectic, leaving us with very little time to sleep. While sleep may seem like least priority on our extensive to-do list, it should not be taken lightly. It is not without reason that health experts tell us to dedicate seven to eight hours for a good night's sleep. The fact is that rest is crucial in helping your body carry out various functions effectively. Good sleep can help you a great deal in your path to healthy lifestyle. And if you find it tough to get good sleep during weekdays, then dedicate your weekends to catch up on sleep.According to a study done by Seoul National University Budang Hospital, catching up on lost sleep over weekends may help people keep their weight down. Not getting enough sleep can disrupt hormones and metabolism and is known to increase the risk of obesity, warned the researchers."Short sleep, usually causing sleep debt, is common and inevitable in many cases, and is a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, coronary heart disease, as well as mortality," said lead author Chang-Ho Yun. "Sleeping in may be better than napping, as the sleep may be deeper and follows the body's sleep-wake rhythms more closely."
To determine how weekend sleep is related to body weight, the researchers used data from a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 people who ranged in age from 19 to 82 years old. Researchers asked participants about their height and weight, weekday and weekend sleep habits, mood and medical conditions. The study team used this information to determine BMI, a measure of weight relative to height, and whether participants engaged in catchup sleep on weekends.(Also read: Sleep Deprived? 8 Signs You Shouldn't Ignore at All)
Weekend catch-up sleep was defined as sleeping more hours on weekend nights compared to weekday nights. On average, the participants slept 7.3 hours per night and had BMIs of 23, which falls in the healthy range.
About 43% of people slept longer on weekends by nearly two hours. People who slept-in on weekends tended to sleep shorter hours during weekdays, but slept more hours overall across the week. The researchers' analysis found that those who slept in on weekends had average BMI of 22.8 while those who didn't averaged 23.1, which was a small but statistically meaningful difference.
"If you cannot sleep sufficiently on workdays because of work or social obligations, try to sleep as much as possible on the weekend. It might alleviate the risk for obesity . Weekend sleep extension could be a quick fix to compensate sleep loss over the week but is not an ultimate solution for chronic sleep loss," Yun cautioned.Inputs from Reuters