The relationship between sleep and cognitive function is not a surprising one–with many studies highlighting an increased ability to perform cognitive tasks when the brain and body receive adequate rest. A new study by researchers at MIT has found that the connection between sleep and our performance day to day is larger than just cognitive and affects us on a physical level, particularly in the way we walk.
The study found that the control we have over our stride and gait are greatly affected by the amount of sleep we get each night. Of those surveyed, the people who received the least amount of sleep–or pulled all nighters–had noticeably less control on a treadmill test than those who received regular sleep. Interestingly, it was found that if there was inadequate sleep throughout the week, sleeping in on the weekend increased walking performance and decreased clumsiness in those surveyed.
Principal researcher of the study, Hermano Krebs stated of the findings, “We[…]find that compensating for sleep could be an important strategy. For instance, for those who are chronically sleep-deprived, like shift workers, clinicians, and some military personnel, if they build in regular sleep compensation, they might have better control over their gait”. So don’t feel too guilty for hitting snooze on your saturday alarm, it just might be setting you up for success.