Lack of sleep can affect your walk!

18 Nov Lack of sleep can affect your walk!

It’s obvious that a lack of sleep can have an affect on multiple areas of your life from lowered mood to an inability to concentrate. A recent study has shown that a few extra hours of sleep can help reduced fatigue induced clumsiness, especially with how you walk.

A new study performed by researchers at MIT and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil report that a lack of sleep can greatly affect how we walk. They enlisted student volunteers and recorded their total amount of sleep the night prior then had them walk on a treadmill. They found that the less overall sleep a student got, the worse their walk was. For those students who pulled an all nighter, their gait control plummeted even further.

An interesting caveat in these finds are that for those who achieved a less than ideal of sleep but caught up on sleep on the weekend had a greater control of their gait. This was directly compared to individuals who failed to catch up on sleep on the weekend and achieved less than the ideal amount of sleep during the week. The take away message for this is that for those who supplement their loss of sleep at other times can attempt to improve their gait control.

Previous research on walking found it was a relatively automatic process with people not putting much thought into it. One study found that participants walking on a treadmill would unconsciously walk to the beat of a metronome with their pace increasing with the increased beat of the metronome as well.

Overall, this study found that one’s total amount of sleep can have a large influence on their walking style. For those who achieved no to very little sleep, their gait was affected the most. For those who caught up on sleep on the weekend, they managed to improve their gait control more than those who did not catch up on sleep.


Source: Guilherme S. Umemura, João Pedro Pinho, Jacques Duysens, Hermano Igo Krebs, Arturo Forner-Cordero. Sleep deprivation affects gait control. Scientific Reports, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-00705-9