Lying in over the weekend? Research suggests that it may not be as beneficial as you think – – Our News, Your Views

Lying in over the weekend? Research suggests that it may not be as beneficial as you think


The weekend is officially upon us time to kick back and relax from the stresses of the working week and for some of us maybe have a much needed lie in. Although according to scientists who say if you struggle to get out of bed on a Monday morning, you may have to blame yourself for lying in over the weekend, according to recent study.

With many of us believing in the notion that staying in bed longer on Saturday and Sunday will help “catch up” on sleep missed during the week is a myth, scientists have said.

The results of the study found that when we lie in we are more likely to be more tired rather than  feeling refreshed after the few extra hours of sleep we get over the weekend. The extra hours in bed are said to disrupt the circadian cycle, which governs the internal body clock and triggers when to wake up in the morning or to feel tired at night.

Because the cycle lasts about 24 hours, staying in bed for longer than usual at the weekend confuses the body clock and results in a person feeling more tired when they try to revert to their normal pattern.

A specialist in sleep medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Dr Gregory Carter, has said: “A great myth of sleep deprivation is that if we miss sleep over the course of the work week, we need to catch up on an hour-by-hour basis at the weekend.”

It is believed that the body can accommodate a delay to the circadian clock of up to an hour, meaning that a short lie-in at weekends is unlikely to have any significant effect on tiredness on a Monday morning.

However, delays of up to two hours or more can throw the body out of sync, making it more difficult to get to sleep on a Sunday night and even harder to get out of bed the following morning.

Any “sleep debt” built up by going to bed too late during the week can be balanced out on Saturday or Sunday simply by getting eight hours of sleep, because the brain rests more efficiently when someone is tired, said Dr Carter.

He went on to say the most effective approach is to go to bed earlier rather than sleeping later at the weekend, in order to continue waking up at the normal time while getting the optimum amount of rest. The approach is beneficial even to insomniacs.

The study also suggests that staying up late on Friday or Saturday nights and having a lie-in the following morning – especially when coupled with other behaviour which harms sleep quality such as drinking alcohol or checking emails just before bed time – makes Monday morning all the more painful.

Researchers have previously shown that even hitting the alarm’s snooze button to get a few more minutes’ rest after a sleepless night can make people feel worse than simply getting out of bed.

Share this story with a friend

Share this story

Tell us what you think on our Facebook page