If you can’t get enough sleep during the week, you want worries or thoughts, you want to get up early because of work, console yourself: you’re not alone. But know that this can negatively affect your health by helping you gain weight. And this is the bad news.
The good news is that sleeping over the weekend to make up for lost sleep during the week is directly associated with the lower body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in the Oxford University Press Sleep magazine.
The researchers, a team of scientists based in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Republic of Korea, sought to determine whether what they call “sleep-up” may affect the body mass index (BMI) in the population. To this end, they conducted face-to-face interviews on a random sample of 2,156 adults, comparing their sleep habits with their BMI scores. The 932 participants who slept longer over the weekend, prolonging sleep for two hours in addition to the usual wake-up time, instead of weekdays had a significantly lower BMI than the other subjects. Furthermore, each additional hour of recovery sleep was associated with a decrease in BMI.
In support of the thesis, one of the co-authors of the study, Professor Robert Thomas, of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, reminded Reader’s Digest that “on weight gain, there is a balance to maintain, within which our body can regulate itself. Recovery sleep helps maintain this balance”.
As a result, Dr. Thomas suspects that recovery sleep during the week would have the same effect. However, as he points out, the reality is that most of us don’t have time to sleep more during the week, so it’s better to abandon yourself to Morpheus over the weekend.
Although the study showed significant differences in BMI with the addition of two or more hours of recovery sleep, Dr. Thomas points out that there are “substantial individual differences”, i.e. the benefit we get from these extra hours varies depending on how much sleep each of us really needs. “To determine your optimal sleep, you need to keep track of time spent sleeping during nights when you don’t need to wake up,” suggests Liza Baker, health coach, creator of the Simply: Health coaching wellness program. This will tell you how many hours of sleep your body needs, as it varies a lot in the entire population, from only 4-5 hours per night to 9-10 hours (most adults fall in the 6-8 hour interval).
So can you really lose weight by sleeping on the weekend? Only if you are in sleep debt from the week, according to the results of this study. “Even eating less can help, however,” says Professor Thomas ironically.