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More weekend z’s: strategies to catch up on lost sleep

More weekend z’s: strategies to catch up on lost sleep

There are lots of reasons why many of us don’t get the recommended seven hours or more of sleep each night. Travel schedules, work deadlines, TV bingeing and — a big one — having young children all take a toll.

Research published recently in the journal Sleep finds that up to six years after the birth of a child, many mothers and fathers still don’t sleep as much as they did before their child was born. For parents, there’s just less time in the day to devote to yourself.

So, can you catch up on sleep? That partly depends on how much sleep you’ve missed.

study in the current issue of Current Biology points to just how quickly the adverse effects of sleep deprivation can kick in. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recruited a bunch of young, healthy adults who agreed to a stay in a sleep lab. Some were allowed to sleep no more than five hours per night for five consecutive days.

“After five days, people [gained] as much as 5 pounds,” says study author Christopher Depner, who studies the links between sleep loss and metabolic diseases. Lack of sleep can throw off the hormones that regulate appetite, he explains, so people tend to eat more.

Depner and his colleagues also documented a decrease in insulin sensitivity among the sleep-deprived participants. “In some people, it decreased to a level where they’d be considered pre-diabetic,” he says. Presumably, that rise in blood sugar would be only temporary in these young, healthy people. But it’s a striking indicator of how much a lack of sleep can influence metabolism.

And, even after a weekend of catch-up sleep, the participants still gained as much weight as those in the study who had not been allowed to get the extra weekend sleep.

So, bottom line: It can be hard for our metabolism to recover from a week of sleep deprivation, and — over time — chronic sleep loss can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

These findings are eye-opening, but they don’t paint the full picture. After all, many of us who lose out on sleep miss only a few hours here or there. Our sleep loss is occasional, not chronic.

Consider this scenario: You have a long day of travel and arrive home late, say, at 2 a.m. And you’ve got to wake up at the crack of dawn for an early meeting the next day. Is that a big deal?

“The short-term effect is that you’re a little more sleepy — your concentration is poor, or [you may lose] words on the tip of your tongue,” says Dr. Chris Winter, a sleep specialist in Charlottesville, Va. But what’s the long-term effect of one night of partial sleep loss?

To read the rest of the post please click below on the source link to MPR News.

Source: From ‘nappuccinos’ to more weekend z’s: strategies to catch up on lost sleep | MPR News

 

 

 

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