Dubai. A few extra hours of sleep in the weekend to make up for lost sleep during the work week isn’t going to help you reverse the effects of sleep deprivation, suggests an international study released this week.

Sleep experts in the UAE estimate that 20-30 per cent of the working population in the country complains of poor sleep quality.

The consequences of sleep deprivation are manifold.

Medical opinion states sleep deprivation could lead to impaired cognitive function, irritability, decreased libido, poor judgement, weight gain, fatigue, high blood pressure (hypertension), weakened immune system, and general low quality of life.

The international study on the “Effects of Recovery Sleep After One Workweek of Mild Sleep Restriction…” is published by American Physiological Society.

The study posits that recouping lost sleep of the work-week or “recovery sleep” does little to help the damage already caused by a sleep-restricted working days.

The US-based researchers led by Alexandros N. Vgontzas studied 30 volunteers on a 13-day schedule whose performance on the attention test didn’t improve after recovery sleep. Further their ability to pay attention deteriorated significantly after sleep restriction and did not improve after recovery.

Norma Cairns, Counselling Psychologist at the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology in Dubai told Gulf News, “Sleeping is a restorative process. It is recommended that we get seven to eight hours sleep per night in order to function well. Skipping out on a few hours each night during the work-week in the hope that it can be ‘made up for’ by sleeping longer at the weekend can be unhealthy in the longer term.”

She explained that the term “functioning well” means a person has good concentration, feels alert, enthusiastic, balanced and focused. She said balanced life style is a significant key to psychological well-being. A balanced life can be achieved by having a healthy routine in terms of sleep, nutrition and exercise alongside work.

She warned against oversleeping during the weekend as it can leave a person feeling more tired.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Emmad Kowatli, an American-board certified specialist in pulmonary medicine and sleep disorders, and director of the Sleep Centre at the American Hospital, Dubai said, “poor sleep is linked to medical conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, sexual dysfunction, and heart failure and heart disease.”

“It is also associated with certain cancers, diabetes and high cholesterol. Any sleep disorder negatively impacts natural sleep cycle, affecting daily functioning. Activities like driving and overall performance is affected. Sleep deprivation causes drowsiness that can slow reaction time and is linked to motor vehicle crashes,” Dr Kowatli added.