Can you “catch up” on sleep?

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Woman sleeping - timely sleep may be an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight.

Can you use the weekends to “catch up” on missed sleep?

A new study published in the journal Current Biology seems to indicate that you can’t.[1]

In this study, a number of participants were split up into three groups. Two groups slept only 5 hours per weeknight, and the other slept 9 hours per night.

One group that slept less during the week were allowed to sleep as much as they wanted on the weekend – to “catch up”.

This didn’t prevent that group from gaining weight – due to metabolic dysregulation from the lost sleep.

The researchers concluded that: “Weekend recovery sleep did not prevent weight gain or reduced insulin sensitivity”

Insulin sensitivity is an important factor in maintaining weight. A reduced sensitivity to insulin means your body requires more insulin in your blood stream, and blood sugar tends to be higher.

Further, people with reduced insulin sensitivity have a higher chance of developing metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

What does this all mean?

It means that getting a good night’s rest, in a timely fashion, may be essential to maintaining a trim waistline and your health.

To find out more about how a lack of sleep impacts your health, read our article: The Importance of Sleep.


1. Christopher M. Depner, Edward L. Melanson, Robert H. Eckel, Ellen R. Stothard, Sarah J. Morton, Kenneth P. Wright Jr. Ad libitum Weekend Recovery Sleep Fails to Prevent Metabolic Dysregulation during a Repeating Pattern of Insufficient Sleep and Weekend Recovery Sleep. Current Biology, 2019: DOI: