Lots of us struggle throughout the day in order to get some sleep, so we catch up with our sleep during the weekend, but did you know sleeping too much can actually be harmful?
With our busy lives, most of us do not get eight hours of sleep during the day, hence we tend to make up for those extra hours by sleeping over the weekend. When we rack up a sleep debt, it is then our body needs more sleep to recover from previous nights of bad sleep.
It is only normal to think that sleeping more during the weekend is going to match up for it, but that is actually not true. According to the new study it was found that catching up on sleep at the weekend actually does little help and could actually be having a negative impact on your overall health.
A study conducted by the NHS said that sleeping too less can increase your risk of developing several metabolic health issues, including diabetes. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder wanted to see whether recovery sleep can actually improve our metabolism and effectively pay off the sleep debt that we have built up during the working week. The study was conducted by a group of healthy young adults and the findings were published in the Current Biology journal. Each of the participants was randomly assigned to one of three groups.
The first group had nine hours' sleep each night for nine nights in a row while the second was only given five hours' sleep each night. The third group slept for five hours for five days and switched to sleeping for however long they wanted at the weekend. During the last two nights, they reverted back to their restricted sleep pattern. The dietary intake of the participants was also taken into account and it was found that those who had been having restricted sleep throughout the entire period were more likely to have a snack after their meals.
On the contrary, people who were selected for the weekend recovery group didn't feel the need to reach for a snack after their meals. But, this effect was only seen during the weekend. When the participants in the final group went back to restricted sleep, they also reached for snacks after their meals.
Along with their dietary intake, their insulin levels were also taken into account and as stated by the Diabetes UK, people who have low insulin sensitivity will need larger amounts of insulin to keep blood glucose levels stable. Which means, it can also lead to a range of health problems such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
The second group of participants had around 13 percent drop in insulin sensitivity and there were also issues with insulin even in the group who were given a chance to catch up on sleep at the weekend. Along with that, the researchers also found that the insulin sensitivity of their entire bodies, liver, and muscle reduced to 27 percent once they started their restricted sleep cycle.
Christopher Depner, one of the researchers of the study released a statement saying, "This finding was not anticipated and further shows that weekend recovery sleep is not likely [to be] an effective sleep-loss countermeasure regarding metabolic health when sleep loss is chronic." It was the fancy way of saying that if you spend your weekend to catch up with the sleep you lost is not going to help you in any way.
But, having said that, the study only focused on the effects of recovery sleep on those who were undergoing chronic sleep loss. The similar effect might not be seen in those who might be having less sleep just once or twice a week. The researchers are planning to dig deeper into the topic. Apart from that, the researchers are also planning to take a look at how daytime napping affects health.
The NHS recommends that everyone should sleep at least eight hours a night for adults but does note that some people may need more and some may require less. If you are one of those who feels tired consistently, you might belong the first in the group. The negative effects of too much sleep are not documented too well, but one of the most dangerous effects of getting too much sleep might put you into a greater risk of heart attack and strokes.
Researchers from the Chicago School of Medicine found that people who sleep more than 8 hours per night are twice as likely to have angina and are also ten percent more likely to have coronary heart disease. Another study also found out that the risk of heart disease was even larger, with a 38 percent greater chance in long sleepers and along with it, the risk of heart diseases also go up. Another study showed that people who sleep more than eight hours per night are 46 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke.
If you sleep too much, you might also be gaining a lot more weight. The researchers said that the more obese people get, the more they feel like sleeping. The researchers also said if you are spending more time in bed, you’re not exercising or even moving around, so you’re burning fewer calories, which is directly related to weight gain.
Not surprisingly, given the link between longer sleep and obesity, diabetes is also more common among long sleepers. Canadian researchers found that even after adjusting for body mass, long sleepers had double the risk of developing diabetes and other studies suggested that too much sleep can affect your body glucose level.