Sleeping in on weekends could save your life

Sleeping in on weekends could save your life

It can give you heart problems or hurt your waistline, and it can leave you anxious and depressed.

Previous studies have found a U?shaped relationship between mortality and (weekday) sleep duration.

He was "quite surprised" by what researchers found when they focused on that block of time. It's a question psychologist Torbjorn Akerstedt, director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, and his colleagues tried to answer in a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Sleep Research.

According to new research, getting extra sleep on the weekend can undo the damage of failing to get enough during the week, ultimately helping you live longer. "This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend".

But when the short sleepers slept in on the weekends, their mortality rate did not differ from that of the consistent seven-hour-a-night sleepers. "Yes, if you are extremely sleep-deprived during the week, then continuing that over the weekend isn't ideal, and maybe you should think about getting a few more hours".

Subtropical Storm Alberto remains stationary over NW Caribbean Sea
A visible satellite image of the cluster of thunderstorms forecasters are watching for signs of tropical storm development. Alberto is projected to make landfall somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and southern Louisiana Monday morning.

So if you're someone who gets very little sleep during the week, you just need to sleep in during the weekends to make up for it.

When, instead, different combinations of weekday and weekend sleep durations were analysed, we observed a detrimental association with consistently sleeping ≤5 hr (hazard ratios 1.65; 95% confidence intervals 1.22-2.23) or ≥8 hr (hazard ratios 1.25; 95% confidence intervals 1.05-1.50), compared with consistently sleeping 6-7 hr per day (reference). "It's a fundamental part of our biology, like breathing".

Not in the new study.

After a week of early starts, most people look forward to having a long lie-in on the weekend and it turns out that by doing so we're actually prolonging our life.

"It's like with your diet". People in their late teens and 20s slept on average for seven hours a night during the week but 8.5 hours on days off. To the authors' credit, he said, they were aware they did not have a fine brush, and accordingly painted a broad outline of sleep habits. "Perhaps it's giving them hope that this habit is in some way good for them".

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