Sleeping in at the weekend is scientifically proven to reduce the risk of weight gain; offering yet another reason to stay in bed longer! Regardless of how much we sleep during the week getting some extra sleep at the weekend is linked with a lower BMI. Sleep disturbances and a lack of sleep has been clearly connected with increased body weight.

A study showed that people who slept only four hours a night for two nights had a 28 percent increase in ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger, and simultaneously an 18 percent decrease in leptin, a hormone that tells the brain it has eaten enough.

Due to lifestyle, technology and other demands we often don’t get enough sleep during the week. Catching up by sleeping a few extra hours at the weekend has a range of health benefits, including protecting against weight gain. The more weekend catch-up sleep, the lower the BMI.

Sleeping 4 hours a night makes you 73% more likely to become obese, and sleeping 6 hours a night makes you 23% more likely to become obese than if you were to sleep 7 to 9 hours.

The best solution is to make sure that you get enough sleep throughout the week but not to feel guilty if you stay longer in bed during the weekend. It might even be more efficient than hitting the gym!


Source: Association Between Weekend Catch-up Sleep and Lower Body Mass: Population-Based Study. Hee-Jin Im, MD, MMSc1; Shin-Hye Baek, MD, MMSc2,3; Min Kyung Chu, MD, PhD4; Kwang Ik Yang, MD, PhD5; Won-Joo Kim, MD, PhD6; Seong-Ho Park, MD, PhD2; Robert J. Thomas, MD, MMSc7; Chang-Ho Yun, MD, PhD2. Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Spiegel K1, Tasali E, Penev P, Van Cauter E. Inadequate Sleep as a Risk Factor for Obesity: Analyses of the NHANES I. Gangwisch JE1, Malaspina D, Boden-Albala B, Heymsfield SB.