Work, Play, Sleep: Weekend Science

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Friday is (finally) here, and while the weekend may be mostly about fun and games for many, there is real science behind it, too.

First, the obvious: People feel better when the weekend arrives.

If you’re anything like me, your shoulders feel a little lighter, the air smells a little sweeter, and there’s a little extra bounce in your step (on the way out the door of the office).

Heck, with three days to spend doing basically whatever you want — it is a long weekend, after all — who wouldn’t be feeling pretty good right about now?

That feeling is apparently not uncommon on Fridays, according to a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology documenting what has been called the “weekend effect.”

No matter what industry you work in or what job you do, chances are you’re feeling a little finer on Fridays. More from ScienceDaily:

en and women alike consistently feel better mentally and physically on the weekend. They feel better regardless of how much money they make, how many hours they work, how educated they happen to be, or whether they work in the trades, the service industry, or in a professional capacity. They feel better whether they are single, married, living together, divorced, or widowed. And, they feel better regardless of age.

It’s unclear whether these findings actually apply to people who have to work weekends themselves. (If you happen to be on the job yourself this weekend, drop us a note in the comments section to let us know how you feel about it.)

Although this study isn’t a total shock, it certainly may provide a fine justification for more long weekends. Worth a shot, anyway.

While most Americans are probably looking forward to having three days to themselves, for many, Friday doesn’t necessarily signal the end of the work week.

According to new research by the University of Toronto, up to 50 percent of people bring their work home with them. This regular — and all too common — habit could be leaving workers more stressed by throwing off their work-life balance.

More from ScienceDaily:

“We found several surprising patterns,” says [sociology professor Scott] Schieman. “People who are well-educated, professionals and those with job-related resources report that their work interferes with their personal lives more frequently, reflecting what we refer to as ‘the stress of higher status.’ While many benefits undoubtedly accrue to those in higher status positions and conditions, a downside is the greater likelihood of work interfering with personal life.”

So work apparently has been proven to interfere with your personal life? Not sure who didn’t see that one coming.

For all those who aren’t working over the next three days: Are you planning on spending your time trying to doze off to make up for all of sleepless nights this week?

Don’t bother. It probably won’t work.

A new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine finds that individuals who suffer from chronic sleep loss may not be able to make up those hours so easily. Roughly one in six American is struggling with a lack of sleep, dozing six hours or less every night.

More from Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press:

he chronically sleep-deprived may function normally soon after waking up, but experience steadily slower reaction times as the day wears on, even if they had tried to catch up the previous night.

Taken together, these studies provide a pretty clear weekend prescription: Leave work at the office, enjoy your time off, and don’t waste the weekend catching up on sleep (although you can certainly try).

Have a good one!

Photos Compiled from Getty Images