This sleep myth you’ve been following for years just got blown up

Trying to catch up on missed weekday sleep on weekends isn’t helping you in the long run, according to a new study.

French researchers released a study claiming that shortened sleep patterns during the week won’t regulate themselves with a little extra shut-eye on weekends, as sleeping in on weekends does nothing to erase “sleep debt,” which is time missed during the week.

The study — published online in the journal Sleep Medicine — focused on adults who only get six or fewer hours of sleep regularly on weekdays. The recommended amount of sleep averages to around seven to eight hours per night, which categorizes these sleepers as “short sleepers.”

Of the 12,000 participants in the study, more than a third made up short sleepers, but nearly a quarter of respondents admitted to tallying sleep debt throughout the week, which amounted to at least 90 minutes of lost sleep than what is recommended.

Results from the study, which surveyed participants about their sleep patterns via a recurring phone poll, revealed that about three-fourths — or 75% — of people with sleep debt did not get more sleep on the weekend or through napping.

“They probably did not take the time to do it. Or had poor conditions to sleep, [such as a] noisy environment, stress, or children at home. So, their sleep debt is not recovered,” study author Dr. Damien Leger said, via Medical Xpress.

Participants who had sleep debt averaged six hours and 42 minutes of daily weekday sleep. By the weekend, numbers rose slightly to seven hours and 26 minutes, with 27% of respondents saying they napped at least once during the week. Just about a third of participants said they napped on weekends.

Eighteen percent of sleep-deprived men and women were able to make up sleep in order to erase sleep deficiencies throughout the workweek.

Leger said work — specifically night shifts and commutes — along with attention paid to technology were to blame for the sleep loss.