Some early birds don’t get much sleep during the week with the expectation that they’ll make it up during the weekend.
However, a new study says waiting to catch up on zzzs doesn’t work.
Penn State University measured the sleeping habits of men ages 20 to 35. They were only allowed to sleep five hours during the week and then 10 hours on the weekend.
Researchers found that the extra hours had no impact on the participants’ baseline levels of sleep. In fact, the study found the participants had higher heart rates, which could lead to more heart problems as they age.
“Only 65% of adults in the U.S. regularly sleep the recommended seven hours per night, and there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that this lack of sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease in the long term,” said Anne-Marie Chang, associate professor of biobehavioral health and co-author of the work published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. “Our research reveals a potential mechanism for this longitudinal relationship, where enough successive hits to your cardiovascular health, while you’re young, could make your heart more prone to cardiovascular disease in the future.”
In conclusion, researchers found that two nights of recovery isn’t enough to fix bad sleeping habits during the week.
“Sleep is a biological process, but it’s also a behavioral one and one that we often have a lot of control over,” Chang explained. “Not only does sleep affect our cardiovascular health, but it also affects our weight, our mental health, our ability to focus and our ability to maintain healthy relationships with others, among many other things. As we learn more and more about the importance of sleep, and how it impacts everything in our lives, my hope is that it will become more of a focus for improving one’s health.”