I’m an active woman who strength trains and performs cardio five days a week. I’m very busy with my job and kids, and always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I feel like I don’t sleep enough during the week. Is it possible to catch up on missed sleep on the weekend? —Anne
Expert: Donna Arand, PhD, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio.
It’s possible to catch up some, though not all missed sleep, says Dr. Arand. In a study published in the journal Sleep, participants slept four hours a night for five nights and then put in 10 hours of shut-eye on the sixth night. Researchers found that the recovery sleep helped restore the sleepers’ alertness and ability to concentrate. Still, Arand says not to intentionally stay up late on weekdays and rely on those extra weekend hours. “Our bodies function best when we maintain regular sleep and wake patterns, with seven to eight hours of sleep per night,” she says.
However, if you only snuck in six nightly hours of shut-eye this week, go ahead and linger in bed Saturday morning. “It’s still better to sleep longer on the weekend since multiple studies have shown serious health risks associated with a few nights of sleep deprivation; high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity and more can be reversed with just one night of adequate sleep.”