The Sleep Chronicle – There is no sleep bank. That’s the word from sleep experts who say Americans need to stop treating sleep as if it’s a renewable resource.
Once you loose it, it’s gone, according to researchers who report sleeping in on the weekend won’t erase the negative health effects of a even just a few nights of weekday sleep deprivation, according to a 2019 sleep study published in Current Biology.
Researchers are in agreement that even one sleepless night is the equivalent of having a few alcoholic drinks; 22 hours without sleeping has been shown to cause cognitive and reactive impairment comparable to being legally drunk.
Sleep debt can add to anxiety, lead to depression and substance abuse, and increase inflammation and brain fog, according to researchers who note it also slows the metabolism, causing weight gain.
And, yes, it makes you eat more at night.
Lead researcher Dr. Christopher Denner was surprised to discover that study respondents who got weekend recovery sleep actually had worse muscle- and liver-specific insulin sensitivity than other participants.
Bottom line, according to Denner, is that recovery sleep is ineffective and counterproductive.
Even going to bed just 15 minutes earlier each night may help.
Other suggestions to improve sleep hygiene include: dimming or turning off lights and devices an hour or two before bedtime, avoiding inflammatory foods, and keeping things cool by keeping the temperature at 68 degrees or cooler.