Recovery Sleep Doesn't Work

Are you one of those people who burns the candle at both ends all week and then sleeps until noon on weekends, “just to catch up”? 

Well, there’s been recent research which clearly says you should reconsider this strategy.

One of the known risks of chronically poor sleep (which includes weekend binge sleeping, or “recovery sleep") is a decrease in metabolic control. By that, I mean hormonal and behavioural changes. These include the way your body handles sugar, poorer decision making, increased food intake, higher smoking rates, and greater alcohol consumption [1]. In other words, it’s the reason you hit the diner down the street on Saturday afternoons for the “bacon, eggs and half-price bloody caesars”.  

Unfortunately - and perhaps not surprisingly -  your risk for diabetes and obesity increase [1,2] with these changes. 

So poor sleep leads to more than just a feeling of being tired. Way more.

If you’re wondering "why can't I make up for poor weeknight sleep on the weekends?". Unfortunately there isn't a concrete answer, but we do know the impairment in blood sugar control isn't remedied if you "make-up" for your sleep [3]. Not surprisingly, this study saw implications for hormonal control and behavioural changes in participants, providing more evidence that multiple factors are in play. 

Another proposed factor is a disruption in the bodies natural sleep-wake cycle, or the Circadian Rhythm. Humans are not nocturnal, despite generations of club-goers trying to make themselves believe they are. We are hardwired to live by the sun - thousands of years of hunting and gathering made us this way. Messing with that schedule confuses our bodies. So when the sleep phase is delayed, you may have a hard time initiating or maintaining sleep. 

The best fix is a good sleep routine throughout the week, especially if you want to improve your blood sugar regulation. 

Happy sleeping y'all,

Dr. Oake