Lie-ins at the weekend are BAD for you and make you feel sleepier during the weekSleeping in on the weekends does not help catch up on sleep lost during the week, but rather makes you even dozier come Monday morning

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UPDATED:

14:36 GMT, 11 September 2012

Enjoying a lie-in at the weekend makes you sleepier during the week, according to research published today.

Experts say that contrary to popular belief, sleeping in on the weekends does not help catch up on sleep lost during the week, but rather makes you even dozier come Monday morning.

They say that a lie-in on Saturday or Sunday disrupts the body’s internal clock so much that it can be more difficult to wake up for work on Monday.

That Monday feeling: Many people try and 'catch up' on sleep lost in the week by lying in at the weekend but this may actually make you more tired

That Monday feeling: Many people try and 'catch up' on sleep lost in the week by lying in at the weekend but this may actually make you more tired

That is the finding of a study lead by Dr Gregory Carter, a sleep medicine specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre.

He said: 'A great myth of sleep deprivation is that if we miss sleep over the course of the working week, we need to catch up on an hour-by-hour basis on the weekend.'

The daily, or circadian, cycles guide the body’s internal clock.

People can delay their circadian clock, up to one hour, by sleeping in one hour or more over the weekend.

The problem is that after sleeping in on weekends, the brain’s circadian clock can be delayed up to two hours, making it tough to get to sleep Sunday and even more difficult to wake Monday morning.

Dr Carter says going to sleep earlier is more effective than sleeping in later.

Balancing any 'sleep debt' from the work week can be accomplished by spending eight hours in bed.

Counter-productive: A lie-in on Saturday or Sunday disrupts the body's internal clock

Counter-productive: A lie-in on Saturday or Sunday disrupts the body's internal clock

He said that when people are really sleepy, their brains rest more efficiently.

Dr Carter said: 'To maintain our internal clock, we need to go to bed eight hours before our usual time for getting out of bed in the morning.'

Too many of us, however, stay up later on Friday and Saturday nights and choose to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

'This pattern – combined with sleep-defeating actions that may include alcohol consumption and late-night checking of e-mails just prior to bedtime – makes for a painful Monday wake-up call.'