US News & World Report details the drawbacks of catching up on sleep during the weekend and how to make up for lost sleep without negatively impacting your health.
For example, in one study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, researchers found that in people who are chronically sleep deprived, sleeping for 10 hours during one night can improve their alertness and ability to perform tasks the next day. However, they also found that it doesn’t counteract the health effects of sleep deprivation over the long term.
After all, five short nights add up quickly to a sleep deficit of 20-plus hours, but no one is sleeping that many extra hours over the weekend. (If they are, larger health issues are likely to blame.) Even when they do sleep in, many adults can’t sleep more than nine or 10 hours on the weekends. That’s because, as you age, your body’s “let’s stay asleep” system gets more lax so that it becomes progressively more difficult to sleep late into the day like you did during your teenage years, says Kristen Knutson, a biomedical anthropologist at the University of Chicago specializing in the relationship between sleep and health. Plus, who has the time to sleep for 48 hours straight over the weekend?