Medicine

Sleeping in on weekends may extend your life

Sleeping in on weekends may extend your life

Now, there is hope in the form of a new research finding from Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute that compensating for missed sleep on the weekends really does work and can even lengthen your life.

Researchers say you shouldn't feel guilty about catching up on your Z's. However, people who slept for less than 5 hours a night during the week could eliminate that increased risk by sleeping for more than 8 hours a night over the weekend.

Researchers surveyed around 44,000 people in Sweden about their sleep habits, and followed up after 13 years to see who was still alive.

However, those who slept five hours or less and then slept in on the weekends, did not have a different mortality rate than normal sleepers.

The authors, writing in the Journal of Sleep Research, noted: 'The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep'.

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However, people who slept for eight or more hours, seven days a week, were found to have a 25 per cent higher mortality rate compared with those who kept to six or seven hours a day.

A recent study by Brigham and Women's Hospital has confirmed that sleep deprivation negatively impacts your work performance even when you do not feel exhausted. "Well, you can, but you won't live as long". What is your average amount of sleep per week? Short sleepers slept for less than five hours per night. In the same age group, short sleep (or long sleep) on both weekdays and weekend showed increased mortality.

Sleep is something you need to replenish regularly if you don't want to hurt your health. "It's a requirement", said Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson.

"It's like with your diet". That, Dr Akerstedt said, was perhaps because older individuals got the sleep they needed. "Perhaps it's giving them hope that this habit is in some way good for them".