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Sleeping In On Weekends Could Have A Surprising Benefit

So you should definitely do it.
PHOTO: Getty

If your weeknight sleep schedule leaves you feeling downright exhausted by the time Friday rolls around, the last thing you want to hear is that catching up on sleep on weekends is no good for your health, as states recent research from the University of Arizona in Tucson that throws shade at the practice for raising your risk of heart disease. Boo!

Good news: Emerging research recently published in the journal Sleep suggests that sleeping in on weekends could actually have some benefits, thank you very much. For the study, researchers based in South Korea compared the sleep habits of 2,156 adults to their body mass indexes (BMI). (Refresher: BMI is a tool medical experts use to access a person's weight relative to their height, and to identify potential health risks linked to obesity, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

On average, researchers found, those who slept too little throughout the week and caught up on sleep on the weekends had slightly lower BMIs (22.8) than those who slept too little and did not compensate on weekends. Their BMIs averaged 23.1, which is statistically significant, since every extra hour of weekend sleep equated to 0.12 lower BMI.


This could have something to do with the fact that people who catch up on sleep on weekends clock more total hours of shut-eye, and getting too little of it can disrupt your hormones and metabolism in a way that sets the stage for potential side effects, including obesity, according to the study authors. Meanwhile, sleep experts uphold that the more you sleep, the better, since you're more likely to practice healthy habits, like exercising and making smart food choices, when you're well-rested.

Because adjusting your sleep schedule to accommodate your social life (or K-drama binge-watching habits) can throw off your body's natural circadian rhythm, resulting in worse health, moodiness, and fatigue, it's still preferable to hit the sack and wake up around the same times regardless of the day, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which recommends clocking at least seven hours of sleep a night with regularity.

TL;DR: If you can't get sufficient sleep on weeknights, catching up on weekends could be your next best bet — at least when it comes to keeping your BMI in check. "Weekend sleep extension may have biological protective effects in preventing sleep-restriction induced or related obesity," the authors conclude in their study. Although their findings prove correlation, not causation, and more research is needed, the results are ever more reason to live your best life on Friday and Saturday nights, and not to worry about hitting the snooze button on those lazy weekend mornings.

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.