Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity or diabetes and some researchers, as proposed by the researcher at Stanford University (USA) Luis de Lecea in EL PAÍS, affirm that it should be considered "a public health problem." However, accurately measuring how and how citizens sleep in their daily lives is complicated and the results of the study of lack of sleep in health have not always been conclusive As a general trend, it seems that both an excess and a sleep defect compared to the recommended seven or eight hours a day are related to an increase in mortality, but in addition, scientists want to know if the weekend can be used to compensate nights with less sleep of the work week.
A group of researchers from the University of Colorado in Boulder (USA) has tried to measure the effects of sleeping without limits during the weekend to compensate for the metabolic problems of sleeping little during the week. In a study led by Kenneth Wright that is published today in the magazine Current Biology explain that they distributed the volunteers who participated in the experiment in three groups. In the first, they slept nine hours a day for nine nights, in the second five hours a day during the week and all they wanted during the weekend and in the third five hours during the nine days of the experiment.
People in the groups that slept less used to bite more after dinner and had an increase in weight. This trend was reduced during the weekend in the group that had those two days to recover the sleep lost during the week, but later they suffered a rebound. The after-hours meals increased, the weight went up and the sensitivity to insulin, an essential hormone to assimilate in the muscles or the liver the sugar obtained from the food, was reduced. Insulin resistance is at the origin of diabetes. To this effect, the authors add that those who recovered sleep hours during the weekend also suffered negative consequences by delaying their circadian clock. "This discovery is unforeseen and shows that the recovery time of sleep during the weekend is probably not an effective measure to counteract metabolic problems when the loss of sleep is chronic," the authors point out.
Dolores Corella, researcher at the University of Valencia and head of the group CIBEROBN (a research group dedicated to obesity and nutrition), explains that this type of work has been surrounded by controversy. "At the beginning it was said that we had to maintain a stable pattern, but more recent studies, in particular one Swedish, where they followed more than 40,000 people in which some slept little during the week and during the weekend, others slept well with a constant pattern and others who recovered sleep during the weekend, have seen that it can be recovered and that it matters the average ", affirms. "This current was now imposing," he adds. On the American study in particular, Corella points out that being a study of short duration and with few subjects, the results should be taken with caution before extrapolating it to society in general.