-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Think you can just make up
for those late nights by catching extra shuteye on Saturday
Don't count on it, say researchers who report that sleeping in
on weekends doesn't entirely restore the sleep you lost during the
For the study, researchers placed 30 volunteers on a sleep
schedule that replicated a sleep-deprived workweek followed by a
weekend with extra "recovery" sleep. The participants' health and
performance was tested at various times during this schedule.
The participants' levels of sleepiness increased significantly
when they got too little sleep, but returned to normal levels after
recovery sleep. Levels of inflammation in the body also increased
significantly when the volunteers were sleep deprived, and returned
to normal after recovery sleep, the findings showed.
In addition, levels of a stress-related hormone did not increase
during sleep restriction, but were much lower after recovery sleep,
the investigators pointed out in a news release from the American
However, the participants' performance on a test that measured
their ability to pay attention declined significantly when they got
too little sleep and did not improve after recovery sleep.
This suggests that recovery sleep over just a single weekend may
not reverse all the negative effects of sleep lost during the
workweek, said Alexandros Vgontzas, of the Penn State University
College of Medicine, and colleagues.
"Two nights of extended recovery sleep may not be sufficient to overcome behavioral alertness deficits resulting from mild sleep restriction," the study authors wrote. "This may have important implications for people with safety-critical professions, such as health care workers, as well as transportation system employees (drivers, pilots, etc.)."
Although these findings provide some insight into the health
effects of a single week of sleep loss and recovery, repeating this
cycle over and over again may have more of a health impact.
"The long-term effects of a repeated sleep restriction/sleep recovery weekly cycle in humans remains unknown," the researchers said.
The study was published in the Oct. 1 issue of the
American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
and sleep disorders.
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