It's True, You Aren't Getting Enough Sleep—Especially On Work Nights

For people who work 9-5 jobs, getting enough quality shut-eye during the week can be a struggle, leading to burnout and fatigue. Come weekends, we relish lazy mornings in bed without the menacing tone of our smartphone alarm dragging us out of a less-than-ideal slumber for another day on the grind. Rather than feeling guilty about "sleeping in" on Saturdays and Sundays, it's possible we should be more focussed on mourning the sleep we're losing during the week.

A new sleep study out of Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute suggests that the amount of sleep we get on weekends is actually the amount of sleep we should be getting every night. Writing for The Conversation, Johanna Garefelt, who is a PhD Candidate at the university who worked on the study, says that people on average get about 30 minutes less sleep than they ideally need on each night of the working week. The study observed the sleep habits of adults before and after retirement, finding that when work is taken out of the equation the amount of sleep during the week increases but the amount on weekends does not.

"Given that participants' weekend sleep was their preferred sleep duration, weekend lie-ins will not compensate for sleep lost on weekdays while working," Garefelt says. "This means that our study participants had chronic partial sleep deprivation when they were working, of about 2.5 hours each week."

When it comes to getting enough sleep on work nights and avoiding the longterm effects of partial sleep deprivation, it's important to establish good sleep hygiene. Reducing your screen time in the few hours before you sleep and developing an effective pre-bedtime ritual will help you fall asleep more easily. And if you are considering trying a sleep supplement, be sure to do your research and consult a health professional.

Illustration by Madeline Kate Martinez.

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