Can weekend sleep repay your weeknight sleep debt?

Monday to Friday, you wake up early for work and stay up late to enjoy social engagements – or finish your chores. By the end of the week, all you want to do is sleep in. Late. You snooze a few extra hours on Saturday morning to stay out late that night, head to bed early on Sunday and start the sleep cycle all over.

Or should we say lack of sleep cycle?

There’s nothing wrong with making up sleep time on the weekends, is there? To regulate your sleep schedule successfully, you need to understand two important sleep concepts – sleep drive and internal circadian biological clocks.

As easy as Sunday morning… late Sunday morning

After a week of early mornings and late nights, our natural reaction is to crave more sleep on the weekends. While extra shut eye on Saturday and Sunday mornings feel good (and a happy habit we’ve held onto since our teenager years), it throws off the upcoming week. Sleeping in late disrupts the balance between our sleep drive and circadian clock, which can result in disrupted sleep, causing crankiness, grogginess and worse, possible depression. Yikes.

And if your social calendar is full on the weekends, there’s no way to be prepared for the week ahead. Going to bed early on Sunday makes sense right? Unfortunately, this probably won’t work. Staying up late and sleeping in through the weekend, combined with thoughts of a stressful upcoming week can cause “sleep onset insomnia.” With your sleep drive and circadian clock thrown off, your body is simply not ready to sleep.