Studies published in the past have long since warned us about the potentially fatal health risks associated with sleep deprivation. One and four Americans develop insomnia every single year. Work-related stress no doubt has a hand to play in the pervasion of insufficient sleep, and unfortunately idle Saturday alarm clocks might not actually be doing us much good.
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The cost of sleeping in
A new study is debunking previous reports that claim sleeping longer on our days off is an effective way to counteract all the sleep we lost during the work week.
The research, published in Current Biology, finds that circadian rhythms are much more complicated than a simple an hour for an hour later system.
They used three groups of participants with the first group sleeping five hours every night. The second group was instructed to sleep 9 hours every night, and the last group had to sleep five hours every night but got to play catch up on the weekends. Not only did groups 2 and 3 experience weight gain, they were also found to have reduced insulin activity.
In summary the researchers disclosed that weekend recovery-sleep did not effectively repudiate the health risks associated with the insufficient sleep engendered by our Mon-Friday bustles.
What can be done?
Many Americans are being sleep deprived during the week and Saturday and Sunday just isn’t enough to repair all that damage. Just one hour taken from our sleep requirements is enough to put us drastically behind.
The key seems to be consistency. Our biological clocks are pretty sensitive, and can’t really accommodate for even the slightest disruptions. Our routines during the day can better equip us to form consistent habits for sleep at night. Exercising is a good place to start.
Intense physical activity triggers an increase in body temperature. The cooling off process has been shown to make us feel tuckered out. Independent studies also cite exercise has an effective method of reducing the correlative factors of insomnia, like depression and anxiety. Limiting your intake of fluids before bed, alcohol and caffeine particularly, is also said to promote healthier sleep patterns.
The research is still a bit scarce, but quick naps have been studied to help us better manage sleep rhythms, in addition to reducing stress and boosting stamina. If preoccupations pose a greater threat to your slumber, consider ASMR or mediation.
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