After a busy week with short nights, many use the weekend to make up for lost hours of sleep. Not a healthy habit, says researcher Paulien Barf of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. On the long run it could result into the development of obesity or worse.
Barf investigated the effect of sleep deprivation on metabolic regulation in rats. She found that sleep shortage caused loss of body weight. However, if the periods of sleep deprivation were alternated with periods of recovery the rats actually gained weight.
Previous studies have shown that sleeping to recover from sleep shortage is of importance for a variety of physiological processes. But now, Barf has discovered that a chronically disturbed sleeping pattern could lead to the development of metabolic diseases, like obesity or even diabetes.
An important finding, as this alternation between sleep deprivation and recovery is something that many people do all the time: short nights during the week and sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays.
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Barf, R., Meerlo, P., & Scheurink, A. (2010). Chronic Sleep Disturbance Impairs Glucose Homeostasis in Rats International Journal of Endocrinology, 2010, 1-6 DOI: 10.1155/2010/819414