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Sleeping-In Will Not Fully Rejuvenate the Body

Update Date: Oct 12, 2013 11:25 AM EDT
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For some people who work hard during the weekdays, a weekend morning spent in bed can feel wonderful. Even though sleeping-in might be a good idea, a new study is reporting that sleeping-in cannot fix the damage done during the week due to sleep deprivation. Based from these findings, researchers remind people that getting a good night's sleep almost every single day is important for physical and mental health.

In this study, the research team headed by Alexandros Vgontzas from Penn State University College of Medicine recruited 30 participants. The volunteers were given a sleep schedule to follow. The participants went through one week that was designed to be sleep-restrictive. The week ended with a recovery period. Throughout the entire week, the researchers monitored the participants' health and performance through the use of a variety of tests.

The researchers found that during sleep restriction the volunteers' level of sleepiness increased. After the weekend of recovery sleep, the people's level of sleepiness returned to baseline. The researchers then measured the amount of inflammation by examining the levels of a molecule in the participants' blood. The team concluded that the recovery period also returned the inflammation level back to the baseline. When the researchers looked at stress levels by studying the levels of a stress hormone, they found that sleep restriction did not affect these levels. However, sleep recovery did reduce stress levels. These findings revealed that the recovery sleep period helped reduce sleepiness, levels of inflammation and stress.

Even though the recovery period did rejuvenate the body to a certain extent, when the researchers looked into cognitive functions, they found that extra sleep on the weekends did not help recover brain functions. The researchers tested the participants' cognitive functions with the help of a performance test. They found that the volunteers' ability to concentrate was jeopardized due to the sleep deprivation experienced during the week even though they slept in on the weekend. The researchers concluded that in order to keep mental health in tip top shape, people should try their best to get a good night's rest every single day.

The study, "The Effects of Recovery Sleep After One Workweek of Mild Sleep Restriction on Interleukin-6 and Cortisol Secretion and Daytime Sleepiness and Performance," was published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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