Sleep Debt: Why Weekend Binge Sleeping Is Good for Your Health

Your brain is not like the bank, where you can accumulate a sleep debt and pay it off with a little extra snooze at a later date.

Or so you’ve been told all your life.

Because as long as can be remembered, scientists have cautioned against sleep deprivation, due to its harmful effects on our health and fitness. That’s why the mantra, “early to bed, early to rise”, plus several warnings along the lines of “you need 8 hours of sleep a day to be healthy” are so deeply ingrained in us right from childhood.

But can you make up for lost sleep?

The point being made here isn’t to encourage sleep deprivation. But who says you can’t sleep later when you have some more time on your hands. Because new research suggests that long sleep during the weekend can compensate for short sleep during weekdays.

Grab your duvets and blankets and read on about why the best health tips, recommend binge sleeping on the weekends.

Your Body Takes Weekly Not Daily Sleep Deprivation Averages 

Oversleeping or constantly sleeping for more than 8 hours every day, has been linked to high mortality rates (obesity and some heart-related diseases). This isn’t what’s being encouraged here. Rather allowing your brain to normalize itself by averaging the hours of sleep you’ve had within a week. So short hours of sleep will be compensated for by longer ones all through the weekend.

A professor from the centre for stress research in Stockholm University says that you’ll be doing your body a whole lot of favor if you make up for a bad sleeping pattern over the weekend. No wonder the best health reviews all recommend the healing power of sleep.

People Suffer From “Social Jetlag” Without Realising

Your schedule during a work week varies from that of a free weekend. Your body’s biological clock, struggling to make sense of this constant change and lack of fixed routine is what some sleep researchers term, social jetlag.

During the weekdays, you might need to wake up as early as 5 am, on the weekend’s though, you could sleep in and wake up around 11 am. For your body, that’s like taking a flight to a country 6 hour ahead. So instead of jetlag from flying, you get social jetlag from changing your schedule. Binge sleeping during the weekends helps you press the reset button, in preparation for the week ahead. Estimate how much sleep you’ll need after a trip abroad and do that during the weekends.

Bed Time Adrenalin

This has more to do with correcting your night routines and following your body cues.

Once it’s evening and you sit down to relax, after a long workday, you’ll find your body shutting off, getting ready for a deep sleep. But alas, you haven’t changed into your PJs and you also haven’t brushed your teeth. Plus, the bedroom looks miles away from where you’re sitting. Unfortunately, when you get up to go through your nightly routine, you’ll discover you’re no longer sleepy because of the adrenalin rush from performing these routines.

For your personal health and fitness, it’s encouraged that you do this nighttime routine before you seat down to relax. Get it over and done with. The deep sleep you fall into unexpectedly gives your brain more rest than whatever short naps or light sleeps you force yourself into afterward. Besides, it can take ages before you finally fall asleep, meaning you’ll have reduced the number of sleep hours you had. If the weekend is still far away, you’ll be setting yourself up for chronic stress.

Weekend Binges Give Your Brain Time to Reboot.

People suffering from sleep deprivation are prone to making impaired judgments so that even their driving can put other road users at risk. Of course, before you get to this level of sleep deprivation you must have been getting a maximum of 3 hrs. of sleep every day. If this happens around the weekend, you could make a full recovery.

Have you ever wondered why people are so refreshed on Mondays? And it isn’t just because they haven’t seen their bosses for two whole days. It’s mostly the two consecutive days of complete rest that plays a big part in it.

Wrapping It Up

Sleep is perhaps the cure most often prescribed by the best health reviews. And while you aren’t being told to specifically hold out till the weekend to make a full sleep recovery, life often gets in the way of sleep on weekdays.

So, a safe way to ensure you’re at your best is to make sure you dedicate your weekends to extended naps, instead of perhaps partying till dawn.