by Amanda MacMillan
CN Digital StudioIf you don't get as much sleep as you should during the week (and let's face it, many of us don't), here's a tip: Sleeping in on weekends may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study presented today at the Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting.
See more: 6 Moves To Resize Your Butt and Thighs
Previous research has shown that a consistent lack of sleep is a risk factor for diabetes (as well as obesity and other chronic health problems), but no one had yet researched whether chronically sleep deprived people could protect themselves by catching up on lost hours on their days off. For the study, scientists from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute recruited 19 men -- with the average age of 29 -- who reported getting only about six hours of sleep on weeknights for at least six months at a time, but who regularly slept an extra two to three hours on weekend nights.
The men spent two weekends in a sleep lab, where researchers drew blood after three nights of either six hours of sleep (consistent with their weeknight patterns) or 10 hours of sleep (consistent with their normal weekend routine). They found that the men who got 10 hours of shuteye a night on "catch up" days had better insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance than those who had persistent sleep restriction. Or, in plain English, their bodies were better able to clear glucose from the bloodstream -- which can protect them from developing diabetes in the coming years.
See more: 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss
Findings should be replicated in larger studies -- and in women -- before official recommendations can be made, says lead author Peter Liu, MD. But, "based on sleep restriction and extension studies in men and women who have normal sleep," he adds, "one would expect that our findings would also be true in women." You're still better off getting the right amount of sleep every night, of course -- but if that's just not possible, at least this study offers hope that you may be able to counteract some of the damage done during a particularly tough week.
Are you sleep deprived during the week -- and do you make up for it on weekends?
More from SELF:
Secrets To Firing Up Your Metabolism
Delicious Mediterranean Dishes Under 400 Calories
Tone Up Your Trouble Spots
The Best Jeans for Your Figure
by Amanda MacMillan