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Catching up on Sleep May Not Work

A few extra hours of sleep on the weekend may not erase all of the damage done during a sleep-deprived workweek.

Sleeping extra on the weekend to make up for lack of sleep during the workweek is pretty common these days. But you might need more than two days to get yourself back to 100%.

In a new study by researchers at Penn State University, people forced to wake up two hours earlier for a week showed the usual signs of sleep deprivation—increased sleepiness during the day, worse performance, and signs of inflammation.

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Fortunately, one weekend of extra sleep—10 hours a night—erased most of that damage. But even after all that extra shut-eye, volunteers still performed poorly on tests of alertness.

This is something most guys need on the job, but it’s especially important if you drive during the week, operate dangerous equipment, or work in places like a hospital or doctor’s office.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, also found that the level of the stress hormone cortisol didn’t change due to lack of sleep. However, sleeping extra on the weekend made it drop.

This might mean that people were already sleep deprived, something the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is fairly common. In 2009 more than a third of adults in the U.S. reported sleeping less than the recommended seven hours of sleep a night.

If you’re one of those people who ranks sleep somewhere below cleaning the toilet, it might be time to reconsider. At least keep in mind that you need more than one weekend of hitting the snooze button to make up for overdoing it.
 

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