For everyone who regularly relies on a weekend lie-in to recover from missing out on proper sleep during the week, be warned that this trick doesn't actually work.
According to a recent study that investigated the effects of short-term and long-term sleep deprivation, those who had missed out on sleep temporarily were able to catch-up with one good night of sleep. But those with chronic sleep loss were unable to ‘bank' their sleep in the same way, and deteriorated for every hour they spent awake.
Being deprived of sleep is not only dangerous as concentration slips, leading to errors and sometimes serious accidents, but can also impact on the body's ability to re-cooperate.
'We know that staying awake 24 hours in a row impairs performance to a level comparable to a blood-alcohol level content beyond the legal limit to drive,' said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cohen.
That ‘rested' feeling we get after a long-lie can be largely psychosomatic, especially as these are often associated with a break from work.
'People may feel like they recovered when they awake, unaware that they are chronically sleep-deprive,' Cohen said.
The study suggests that sleep deprivation affects the brain in two ways - one that builds over normal waking hours, and another that accumulates over a long time of failing to get enough rest.