Cyclic pattern makes up for lost sleep
Alongside future studies, these findings could reduce accidents due to sleep deprivation among shift workers, the authors said.
Researchers from the University of Sydney attached an actigraph, a sleep-measuring device worn like a wristwatch, to 13 young males aged 18–35 for two weeks.
They found that on average the men slept for 6.5 hours, but there was a sine wave pattern to their sleep duration – a phenomenon not previously observed – with sleep duration waxing and waning over a period of days.
“This study essentially informs us of a phenomenon of a cyclic pattern of sleep duration,” Dr Chin Moi Chow (PhD), a sleep health researcher and principal investigator of the study, told MO.
“Say you were sleep deprived and you stayed up late for a couple of nights, then your body will signal that there’s a need to catch up on sleep. Once your sleep has been topped up, then the sleep duration decreases,