Weekend lie-ins are ‘BAD for your health – and won’t undo damage of a busy week’

Weekend lie-ins are ‘BAD for your health – and won’t undo damage of a busy week’


HAVING a lie-in at the weekend won’t make up for sleep lost during the week, experts have warned.

The extra hours’ kip don’t help recharge your health after a week of burning the candle at both ends.

Weekend lie ins could be bad for your health - and don't make up for sleep lost during a busy week, experts have warned
Weekend lie ins could be bad for your health – and don’t make up for sleep lost during a busy week, experts have warned
Getty – Contributor

Eight hours is gold standard

Not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health.

The gold standard when it comes to shut eye is eight hours a night, according to the NHS.

But less than that and you run the risk of falling ill with colds and flu, up your chances of obesity and type 2 diabetes and risk your mental wellbeing.

Yo-yo sleeping is bad for health

So, it can be tempting to set the alarm a little later on a Saturday or Sunday morning, in the hope of making up for lost time.

But the new findings from the University of Colorado Boulder, show that might not work.

Kenneth Wright, director of their sleep lab, warned: “Our findings suggest that the common behaviour of burning the candle during the week and trying to make up for it on the weekend is not an effective health strategy.

“It could be that the yo-yoing back and forth – changing the time we eat, changing our circadian clock and then going back to insufficient sleep – is uniquely disruptive.”

Short term fix wears off fast

His team studied a group of adults over a two-week period.

Scientists found that those people who slept no more than five hours for five days, before two days of sleeping as long as they liked, gained next to nothing compared to those who followed a longer, more structured sleeping pattern.

The results, published in Current Biology, indicated that people who slept in on the weekend can benefit from a mild recovery but the effects wear off as soon as they go back to their normal sleep-deprived patterns during the working week.

The sleepers were tested against a second group instructed to sleep nine hours every night for nine days, and a third group told to sleep for only five hours a night, with their food intake and light exposure continuously monitored.


The outcomes showed that those in the sleep-restricted groups had the tendency to snack more at night, therefore gaining weight and experiencing a drop in insulin sensitivity – the weekend sleep-in group reduced their snacking over the two days.

“In the end, we didn’t see any benefit in any metabolic outcome in the people who got to sleep in on the weekend,” said Chris Depner, lead author.

In total, the weekend recovery group only managed to gain 66 minutes of extra sleep on average, while men recovered more lost shut-eye than women.

According to the NHS, one in three people in the UK suffer from poor sleep.

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