Weekend lie-in 'vital' for health

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GMT - 3 Hours Weekend lie-in 'vital' for health

Post by yaad on Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:40 pm

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NEW YORK: The weekend lie-in is more than lazy indulgence - it could be vital to your well-being, research suggests.

Those extra hours in bed may be necessary to help busy folk recover from lost sleep Monday to Friday.

Tests on a group of volunteers showed that lying in provides an antidote to the effects of days of sleep deprivation. But one or two hours might not be enough, the US researchers found. For serious sleep loss, even 10 hours in bed may be insufficient to cancel out the negative effects.

Study leader Dr David Dinges, who heads the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, said: "The additional hour or two of sleep in the morning after a period of chronic partial sleep loss has genuine benefits for continued recovery of behavioural alertness. The bottom line is that adequate recovery-sleep duration is important for coping with the effects of chronic sleep restriction on the brain."

Inadequate sleep is known to impair the ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system, and keep emotions in check.

When people lose sleep, their concentration drops and they suffer memory lapses. The brain falls into "rigid" thought patterns, making decision making and problem solving difficult.

The effects can have a big impact on work performance, yet stress and long working hours frequently mean people in busy jobs get too little sleep during the week.

Experts say most people need between 7.5 and nine hours of sleep a night, although some get by on less and others require more.

"Recovery of alertness dimensions was remarkably dependent on the duration of the recovery time in bed," said Dr Dinges, whose findings are published in the journal Sleep.

"However, the sleep restriction was severe enough that recovery of alertness was not complete following a single night of extended sleep, indicating a residual sleep debt remained.

"Lifestyles that involve chronic sleep restriction during the working week and during days off work may result in continuing build-up of sleep pressure and in an increased likelihood of loss of alertness and increased errors."

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