Getting to sleep in can feel like a luxury, a treat, or even a necessity. However, snoozing much later than usual may have a few downsides as well. In fact, sleeping in may be bad for your health in some surprising ways.
As far as healthy sleep habits are concerned, sticking to a routine seems to be the best practice. To keep your internal clock regulated, it's best to avoid sleeping in more than one hour on the weekends, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Things can start to go off the rails past the one-hour mark.
That said, not everyone has total control over their sleeping habits (as any parent of a newborn can attest). All-hours childcare, hectic work schedules, and health conditions such as insomnia can make getting enough sleep difficult. Even for people who want to keep up a healthy sleep schedule, it can be a difficult goal to reach. If you're having a tough time, then consider some tricks to sleep better at night, according to Bustle. And if it's a serious concern, then don't hesitate to speak with your doctor about ways to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Just know that in some cases, sleeping in super late once or twice a week may do more harm than good.
1. Fails To Fix Sleep Debt
Do you sleep in on the weekends to catch up on all the hours lost during the week? It may not be that helpful. Although sleeping in might help you feel a little more alert, it won't make up for the negative effects that chronic sleep loss has on your health, according to the National Sleep Foundation. On a mental and physical level, that accumulated sleep debt is still taking its toll.
2. Messes With Your Sleep/Wake Cycle
When it comes to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, consistency is key. Sleeping in can confuse your internal body clock, making it difficult to fall asleep on time in the next day or so, as explained in the National Sleep Foundation. If you've ever slept in through the weekend, only to find it impossible to crash on Sunday night, then you know this dilemma well.
3. Makes Future Sleep Difficult
Sleeping in for one morning may mess up your sleep schedule for several days. "People like to sleep in on the weekends because it makes them feel better," said clinical health psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron in PBS. "The problem is you’re at a greater disadvantage for getting on track during the week." If you already struggle with getting to bed on time during the week, then weekend sleep-ins are probably not going to help.
4. Increases Fatigue
If you're already getting enough shut-eye at night, then sleeping in could actually make you feel more tired. As it turns out, getting too much sleep can make a person feel lethargic and unmotivated the next day, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Because sleep needs can vary from person to person, it's a good idea to figure out how much sleep your individual body needs, as explained in Romper. The ideal is a little different for everyone.
5. Promotes Social Jet Lag
By keeping a different sleep schedule on the weekends and weekdays, people may experience social jet lag, according to WebMD. "The behavior looks like if most people on a Friday evening fly from Paris to New York or Los Angeles to Tokyo and on Monday they fly back," said researcher Till Roenneberg in WebMD. "Since this looks like almost a travel jet lag situation, we called it social jet lag." Basically, it feels like you're trying to operate in a different time zone.
6. Increases Risk Of Heart Disease
The effects of social jet lag may last much longer than Monday morning. An increased risk of heart disease is associated with social jet lag, according to Sleep. In fact, the effect gets more pronounced with every hour of difference between weekday and weekend schedules.
7. Worsens Mood
On top of everything else, sleeping in may put you in a crabby state of mind. Social jet lag is also related to worse moods, according to Sleep. In general, it looks like sticking to a regular sleep schedule is the most restful way to go for the majority of people.