Let’s talk about sleep

I don’t remember the last time I clocked in a regular (read: healthy) 8-hour sleep. Not since 2002, for sure, as I’ve always had a schedule that will have me wake up between 3 and 5 am to read, study, write or do something productive.

Yeah, I know, it’s a little too early but that’s how I roll. Or at least I used to until recently. As I’ve grown wiser, I’ve realized the importance of sleep and it’s effect on our psychology and physiology. It’s way too significant than we realize and most of us don’t. Add #hustleporn to your life to make it even worse!

One of the biggest revelations I’ve had is that catching up on your sleep (because that’s what tough people do, right? Well…) on weekends is a superbad strategy. And I’ve been stupid enough to do that for over a decade!

Why bother? I bumped into this crazy study while browsing Kottke.org earlier today. And it blew me away! Here’s what the study that appeared in Current Biology states:

1. Weekend lie-ins are not, in fact, enough to reverse the damage that sleep loss during the week causes.

2. The researchers found that all of the participants who had to restrict their sleep during the week gained the habit of snacking after dinner, which also led to weight gain. Even after having the chance to sleep in on weekends, individuals who went back to restricted sleep patterns during the week continued to experience dysregulations of their body clock. They carried on with their after-dinner snacking habit and continued to put on weight.

3. Participants who restricted their sleep every night had lower insulin sensitivity, experiencing a decrease of approximately 13 percent. High insulin sensitivity is usually a marker of good health, while low sensitivity to this hormone — called “insulin resistance” — can indicate diabetes. Despite their weekend lie-in, these participants still had lower insulin sensitivity than usual, and once they started experiencing sleep loss again during the week, their insulin sensitivity, both overall and in the liver and muscles specifically, decreased by between 9 and 27 percent.

Sleeping more on weekends does not make up for past sleep loss

It’s pretty clear, sleeping is the best medicine there is. Compromising may be sexy right now but it will bite you right back in the years to come. And I’m not too bothered about the years that I haven’t paid attention to this, I’ll be damned if I don’t start paying attention right now.

Sleep tight fellas! 😉

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