Published: Sun, May 27, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

How a weekend sleep-in could help you avoid an early death

How a weekend sleep-in could help you avoid an early death

"I suspected there might be some modification if you included also weekend sleep, or day-off sleep".

However, research has often overlooked what happens on your days off, said sleep researcher Torbjörn Åkerstedt, co-author of a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

The study, which included nearly 44,000 participants, concluded that "short weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects less than 65 years old". "This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality".

"Apparently, sleeping in in on the weekends can be a real help", said Åkerstedt, a professor and director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University. Also, too much sleep can be a problem, the study says, because those who get over eight hours of sleep every day of the week actually have a higher mortality risk than those who just average between six to seven hours.

Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday could help people live longer if they aren't getting enough sleep during the week, according to a new research.

In the same age group, either short sleep or long sleep on both weekdays and weekends showed increased mortality when compared with consistently sleeping 6-7 hours per day.

Fortunately, they found that if you're one of those people who struggles to get a full night's sleep, the damage can be reversed.

To come up with these findings, researchers analyzed data from 30,000 subjects over a period of 13 years.

The Swedish study reiterated what we already know so well - not getting enough sleep is bad for our health.

For people over the age of 65, no link between sleep duration and a heightened risk of death was established.

For those who only manage to get less than five hours of shut eye throughout the week, but then have a longer snooze on the weekends, there was no heightened mortality risk.

There were limitations to the study, such as the participants only being asked about their sleeping habits only once, making it impossible to detect changes in their sleep habits over time. For one thing, sleep duration was self-reported by participants.

Stuart Peirson, an expert on the human "body clock" who was not involved in the research, told the Guardian that "sleep debt" needed to be "paid off".

While the majority of people would be able to attest that a good night's sleep is imperative for a healthy well-being, many wind up depriving themselves of rest as they go about their busy regimes.

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