New Science encourages to sleep longer on weekends.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have published a study detailing the beneficial effects of paying back sleep debt on weekends, adding this could reduce the risks of developing diabetes in people that sleep very little during the week - Reuters reports.
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Researchers had for long associated poor sleep with risks of diabetes and strokes, but this latest study reveals paying back sleep deprivation at the earliest opportunity might reverse the risks associated with poor sleep.
Nineteen healthy young men were recruited for this study after researchers discovered that little sleep for four nights created changes in their blood because the lack of sleep affected the ability of their bodies to properly manage blood sugar.
Funny enough, when the men were allowed to sleep more for two days after this discovery, their blood tests indicated normalcy, reversing the ill-effects of earlier sleep deprivation.
“It gives us some hope that if there is no way to extend sleep during the week, people should try very hard to protect their sleep when they do get an opportunity to sleep in and sleep as much as possible to pay back the sleep debt,” said lead study author Josaine Broussard of the University of Colorado Boulder.
The researchers were quick to point out sleeping every weekend to cover up for insufficient sleep during the week may not really have the same effects on an individual, and sleeping more to pay back sleep debts may not necessarily prevent diabetes.
“We don’t know if people can recover if the behavior is repeated every week,” Broussard said. “It is likely though that if any group of people suffer from sleep loss, getting extra sleep will be beneficial.”
To fully evaluate the impact of sleep on diabetes risk, the researchers measured ability of the individual’s body to employ the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar – what is known as insulin sensitivity.
They were able to determine that insulin sensitivity dropped by 23% when the participants did not get enough sleep for 4 nights, and that their bodies produced extra insulin to make up for the sleep deprivation; but when they slept for extended nights the next two days, their bodies produced normalized insulin and the insulin sensitivity returned to normal.
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James Gangwisch, a researcher at Columbia University warned that the results of the study may not be the same for overweight or obese people, or for elderly persons as well as those who are at high risks for diabetes; but then, catching up on sleep at weekends will sure reduce the extent and severity of sleep deprivation incurred during the week.