When you don’t get enough sleep you might notice that you feel more fatigued, irritable, or anxious. Sleep impacts every aspect of our day-to-day lives and in fact, according to new research, it can even impact how we walk.
Research from the University of São Paulo shows that sleep-deprived individuals have a less rhythmic gait, a lowered ability to adjust their pace, and impaired ability to avoid obstacles and maintain balance.
The researchers tracked students at the Brazilian university. They had the students wear sleep trackers for two weeks and complete treadmill tests. In one trial, they had half the students pull an all-nighter before the treadmill test while the other half followed their usual sleep routine. Lead author Arturo Forner-Cordero said, “They had to synchronize their heel strike to the beat, and we found the errors were larger in people with acute sleep deprivation.”
Additionally, students who attempted to remedy their sleep deprivation by sleeping in on weekends performed better on the test. This sleep compensation is good news for those who struggle to get the recommended eight hours of slumber each night. “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,” said Forner-Cordero.
Source study: Scientific Reports – Sleep deprivation affects gait control