The much-loved weekend snooze stems from the need to catch up on sleep lost during the week.
“That’s an attempt to pay back sleep deprivation,” says Charles Czeisler
, chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
But Czeisler is not an advocate of sleeping late over the weekend. He calls it “sleep bingeing” and says it’s a break from consistency that leads to further disruption of our sleep cycles.
Sleep takes place in cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow-wave sleep (non-REM sleep) that alternate in approximately 90-minute cycles.
The extra hours of sleep, but more important the later time of awakening, on weekends leads to confusion and displacement in the body when people return to their weekday routine — something Czeisler defines as “social jet lag.”