It always feels good to welcome the weekend. If you just had an exhausting and sleep-depriving week, you naturally could be looking forward to waking up really late on Saturday and/or Sunday morning.
But be warned. Sleep experts advise against sleeping in during weekends. According to Dr. Brandy Roane of the Sleep for Science Research Laboratory of the Brown University in Rhode Island in the U.S., sleep bingeing on weekends could possibly make one even more tired and restless on Monday.
Roane explained that this has something to do with the body’s circadian clock—or the biological or internal clock. Thus sleeping in three hours or more on a Saturday or Sunday morning brings that clock off track, since it is ruled by daylight. Consequently, sleep bingeing can cause difficulty falling asleep or even staying asleep at night that same day.
Disrupting sleep cycle
And that could bring about a mismatch between your circadian rhythm and your ideal sleep schedule. Over time, this problem could lead to various health problems—including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity—and other conditions that may affect physical and mental performance.
Roane added that waking up very late on weekends could also push back the circadian clock by up to 5 hours. Thus, by Sunday night, it may take longer for you to fall asleep, resulting to less sleep and waking up feeling tired on Monday, which may extend up to Tuesday and even Wednesday. This is because once the circadian clock is thrown off, it would usually take up to 3 days to get it back on track.
Catching up on sleep
So what should you do if you want to enjoy longer sleeps during weekends? Roane advises everyone to sleep earlier than normal instead of getting to bed late during weekends (Friday or Saturday night). This way, the circadian clock would not be screwed up.
If you also want to stay a little longer in bed on Saturday or Sunday morning, it is advisable to do so but only up to one hour at most. Thus, if you usually wake up at 6 a.m., you could sleep a little longer until 7 a.m. so that your sleep cycle would not be disrupted.
Sleep.org has another good suggestion if you want to make up for any sleep debt every weekend. The website recommends taking a 30-minute nap between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., when your circadian cycle normally dips. Naps that are longer and are taken earlier or later than that may lead to sleep pattern disruption.