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Sleeping in on the weekend isn’t the solution to tiredness, it might just be the cause

If you rely on long sleeps during the weekend to keep you running around on very little sleep in the week, then your recharging method is about to be seriously questioned.

Toa Heftiba

It’s a common misconception that sleep deprivation during the week can be restored over the weekend. Lay-ins have become somewhat synonymous with weekends, while daydreaming of sleeping in is a feeling all too familiar during the long weekdays. If you rely on long sleeps during the weekend to keep you running around on very little sleep in the week, then your recharging method is about to be seriously questioned. A new research has revealed that it is regular sleep patterns that will help restore energy levels, rather than sleeping for longer whenever possible. Developed with sleep researchers and chronobiologists to help navigate users to the right light and the right time, the LYS 1.0 light measuring wearable and app can help you understand your light intake and how to monitor regular sleep patterns.

In a new study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), researchers measured the association between sleep, light with the academic performance of college students. The study found that irregular sleep – namely going to sleep at various times during the week, and most importantly, waking up at different hours – directly correlated with lower academic results.

“Our results indicate that going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time is as important as the number of hours one sleeps,” said Andrew J. K. Phillips, PhD, a biophysicist at the BWH Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders and lead author on the paper. “Sleep regularity is a potentially important and modifiable factor independent from sleep duration.”

For a duration of 30 consecutive days, 61 full-time students from Harvard College using sleep diaries to record their sleep-wake activities. The study then quantified sleep regularity using a newly devised metrix called Sleep Regularity Index (SRI). Ultimately, the relationship between sleep regularity, duration, its distribution across the day and the students’ academic performance were examined.

From the study, researchers concluded that the circadian clock takes time to adjust to schedule changes and is highly sensitive to patterns of light exposure. Irregular sleepers, who frequently changed the pattern of when they slept and consequently altered their pattern of light-dark exposure, experienced misalignment between the circadian system and the sleep-wake cycle.

With this timely study, it’s been concluded that light-based interventions, including increased exposure to daytime light and less exposure to high frequency blue light – such as the light projected from our electronic devices before bedtime – are effective in improving sleep regularity. And with that, maintaining a steady sleeping schedule is essential. Our awake and bedtimes is the main factor in the light we ultimately receive.

In order to grasp the direct effect of light intake on your sleep-wake cycle, the LYS 1.0 beautifully visualises your 24 hours rhythm, bearing in mind your set wake up time and bedtime, so you can not only adjust to the consistency of waking up and going to sleep at roughly the same times, but also maintain the light levels you receive for an even bigger boost to your wellbeing.

This weekend, try to keep your usual alarm clock on, as obscure as it may seem to wake up at the same time on your days off as on your days on, it might just be the key to sleeping better and restoring your energy levels. If you see a difference in your energy levels after keeping a steady sleeping pattern over the next weekend, try to use products like the LYS 1.0 wearable to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle for even longer.

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