Catch-up sleep on the weekend may increase waistline, study finds

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By Shamard Charles, M.D.

A new study finds that catch-up sleep on the weekend puts people at risk of gaining weight.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, showed that people who did not sleep enough during the week but caught extra hours on the weekend tended to snack more and have an increased risk of diabetes.

“Our findings suggest that the common behavior of burning the candle during the week and trying to make up for it on the weekend is not an effective health strategy,” said the paper’s senior author, Kenneth Wright, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The researchers looked at the sleeping habits of 36 healthy adults aged 18 to 39 over 10 days in a lab. They were divided into three groups: those who slept nine hours a night for nine consecutive days, those who had their sleep restricted to only five hours a night for nine nights, and those who slept no more than five hours a night for five days followed by a weekend when they could sleep as much as they liked, before returning to restricted sleep for two days.