Do you lack enough sleep during the week and try to catch up on weekends? A new study done at the University of Colorado Boulder suggests that sleeping in on weekends can contribute to decreasing the risk factor of developing diabetes.
“It gives us some hope that if there is no way to extend sleep during the week, people should try very hard to protect their sleep when they do get an opportunity to sleep in and sleep as much as possible to pay back the sleep debt,” said lead study author Josaine Broussard of the University of Colorado Boulder.
To come to their findings, researchers conducted two sleep experiments. One study allowed participants to sleep just 4.5 hours a night for four consecutive nights, and then allowed them to catch up with two evenings of extended sleep. The other study allowed participants to sleep 8.5 hours a night for 4 nights.
Participants had their food intake regulated throughout the study to ensure valid insulin readings.
The study found that, in the sleep deprived group, the volunteers’ insulin sensitivity had fallen by 23 percent and their bodies had started to produce extra insulin, by the end of the four sleep deprived nights.
After the two nights of extended rest, though, participants’ insulin sensitivity, and the amount of insulin their bodies produced, had returned to normal levels, mirroring the results from the study in which participants got consistent, adequate sleep and maintained normal levels of insulin production.
Broussard stated that the study doesn’t prove that sleeping late every weekend can combat the ill effects of not getting sufficient rest during the rest of the week. It also doesn’t prove that catching up on sleep lost will prevent diabetes. But it does provide some useful bits of information.
“We don’t know if people can recover if the behavior is repeated every week,” Broussard added by email. “It is likely though that if any group of people suffer from sleep loss, getting extra sleep will be beneficial.”
Bring on the 11am wake up call, this Saturday.