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'Isang Episode Na Lang' Isn't A Healthy Mindset, Science Says

Catching up on sleep isn't an excuse.
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To all our fellow all-nighters, our "isang episode na lang" squad, and everyone else who's had to skip on sleep on weekdays thinking they can just catch up on it later, we come bearing bad news.   

Unfortunately for us, it seems that the phrase, "Babawi na lang ako ng tulog sa weekend," is no longer a valid excuse to miss out on dozing off at night like how human beings are supposed to. 

Various studies on sleep debt suggest that catch-up sleep—like how you sleep more on the weekends to catch up on what you've lost during the weekdays—can make up for some things, but *not* all, that need to be compensated.

One study by Pejovic et al. focused on whether a two-day recovery sleep helps reverse the effects of sleep restriction on alertness, attention, and stress. The study found that, while two days of catch-up sleep did help bring daytime sleepiness and fatigue back to their baseline levels, it did not help bring one's performance back to normal. This result suggests that sleeping in over the weekend won't necessarily mean you'll be more productive and efficient the following week.

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Another study led by Christopher M. Depner and Kenneth P. Wright focused on whether the effects of weekend recovery sleep can counteract metabolic health problems brought about by a chronic lack of sleep. Participants were divided into three groups: one with restricted sleep for nine days (like students pulling all-nighters before and during finals week), one with enough sleep for nine days (like students during term break and summer vacation), and one with restricted sleep coupled by a two-day recovery sleep period in between (like students on a regular school week na bumabawi ng tulog 'pag weekend).

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The results of the study showed that those who had restricted sleep, even the ones who got a two-day recovery sleep period, experienced an increase in after-dinner snacking and weight gain—which just supports other studies' claims that catching up on sleep over the weekend may not be as helpful as we thought it was if being puyat has become a habit for you.

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According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended number of hours of sleep is eight to 10 hours for teens (13-18 years old) and seven or more hours for adults (18 years old and above).

While being puyat is an unavoidable part of life for some of us, science says it's still best for our overall health to keep our sleepless nights to a minimum. Meaning, if we really have to sacrifice sleep, we'll have to choose wisely what we're sacrificing our precious Zs for. So maybe next time you binge-watch a show, let sleep overcome you instead of convincing yourself, "isang episode na lang."