Should we be playing sleep catch up on the weekend?

Not getting enough sleep and trying to play sleep catch-up on the weekend? 

Getting a regular amount of sleep each night (about 7-8 hours for most adults) is essential for good health, but unfortunately many of us may not be getting enough sleep. Is the solution catching a couple of extra ZZZs on the weekend?

Playing sleep catch up

Some people think sleeping is a bit like banking. If you have a few late nights or early starts you can simply balance the books by catching up on your ZZZs later. 
  
Bupa GP Gillian Rawlings says: “If you have a few nights with less sleep due to short-term stress, or travel or something pleasant, then yes, you can catch up on the weekend.
 
“However, in the longer term, you can’t use longer sleep-ins on the weekends to catch up on the sleep debt you’ve accumulating during the week.”
Should we be playing sleep catch up on the weekend body

Causing harm 

“Sleeping too little and then too much can disturb your circadian rhythm (your inbuilt body clock) and help cause, maintain or possibly worsen any sleep problems,” Dr Rawlings says.
 
As your circadian ‘clock’ affects a range of hormones, as well as blood pressure and blood glucose levels, consistently not getting enough sleep over a long period of time could cause some physical issues, and possibly other wellbeing issues, too.
 
For example, you could find yourself less hungry in the mornings but very hungry late in the day, which may lead to you consuming energy dense foods that may impact your weight and could further disturb your sleep cycle.

So the message is, by all means sleep in on the weekend for pleasure and as a short-term strategy to counter a night out or an occasional night of sleep disturbance. However, if your lack of sleep becomes a way of life or is something beyond your control, speak to your doctor.

Bupa Health Insurance

Which foods can help or harm your sleep? A dietitian can provide personalised advice. Depending on your cover, costs towards some visits may be included under your private health insurance.

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