• Sleep loss increased after-dinner energy intake and reduced insulin sensitivity
  • In total, participants slept an extra 1.1 h during weekend recovery versus baseline
  • After-dinner energy intake was reduced during weekend recovery sleep
  • Weekend recovery sleep did not prevent weight gain or reduced insulin sensitivity


People commonly increase sleep duration on the weekend to recover from sleep loss incurred during the workweek. Whetherad libitum weekend recovery sleep prevents metabolic dysregulation caused by recurrent insufficient sleep is unknown. Here, we assessed sleep, circadian timing, energy intake, weight gain, and insulin sensitivity during sustained insufficient sleep (9 nights) and during recurrent insufficient sleep followingad libitum weekend recovery sleep. Healthy, young adults were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) control (CON; 9-h sleep opportunities, n = 8), (2) sleep restriction without weekend recovery sleep (SR; 5-h sleep opportunities, n = 14), and (3) sleep restriction with weekend recovery sleep (WR; insufficient sleep for 5-day workweek, then 2 days of weekend recovery, then 2 nights of insufficient sleep, n = 14). For SR and WR groups, insufficient sleep increased after-dinner energy intake and body weight versus baseline. During ad libitum weekend recovery sleep, participants cumulatively slept ∼1.1 h more than baseline, and after-dinner energy intake decreased versus insufficient sleep. However, during recurrent insufficient sleep following the weekend, the circadian phase was delayed, and after-dinner energy intake and body weight increased versus baseline. In SR, whole-body insulin sensitivity decreased ∼13% during insufficient sleep versus baseline, and in WR, whole-body, hepatic, and muscle insulin sensitivity decreased ∼9%–27% during recurrent insufficient sleep versus baseline. Furthermore, during the weekend, total sleep duration was lower in women versus men, and energy intake decreased to baseline levels in women but not in men. Our findings suggest that weekend recovery sleep is not an effective strategy to prevent metabolic dysregulation associated with recurrent insufficient sleep.

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