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  • You snooze, you lose

    If your typical Saturday morning consists of sleeping in until noon, you may want to reconsider your weekend plans.

    Many of us don't get a sufficient amount of sleep during the week, because of hectic schedules, family demands, work or even the tendency to stay up late to catch Conan O'Brien. As we build sleep deficits, it seems only reasonable to find a way to catch up.

    But it's possible to overdo it.

    We're not talking about getting in a few extra minutes. Considering that most of us need it, an extra 30 minutes to an hour on the weekends is actually good. According the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., the average American adult sleeps about 6.9 hours a night, though doctors recommend between seven and nine hours to function properly. But snoozing too much on your days off can make you feel more exhausted than refreshed and exacerbate another problem--daytime fatigue.

    "If you're sleeping more than 40% to 50% more than you would in just one day, it will make you feel groggy," says Dr. Russell Rosenberg, director of the Northside Hospital Sleep Medicine Institute in Atlanta.

    He calls it sleep inertia: a transition period from asleep to awake in which a person experiences diminished mental functioning, such as not being able to make quick decisions, impaired concentration and a lack of energy. Sleep inertia can last for as little as a few minutes or as long as hours. Though people who have regular sleep patterns experience bouts of it, the problem becomes more pronounced in those who have overslept.

    What's more, people who feel lethargic from oversleeping could find themselves in a vicious cycle that is very hard to break: It seems as though more sleep is needed, but that could just lead to more grogginess.

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