Sleeping in on the weekends might prevent an early death

Lynette PayneMay 25, 2018

While the study didn't investigate the direct link between sleep patterns and mortality rates, getting little sleep was suggested to have an overall negative effect on the body.

"Try to sleep for seven hours regardless of day of the week, but older individuals need less, and younger need more sleep".

But the restorative properties of having a longer sleep only worked up to a point, according to the findings.

Torbjörn Åkerstedt, one of the authors of the study, said that previous studies had concentrated on average sleep during the working week. Science says it may help you live longer, especially if you don't get enough rest during the week.

Published yesterday in the Journal of Sleep Research, the Swedish study found sleeping for less than five hours a night over the weekend increased risk of an early death by more than 50 per cent.

The study is based on medical and lifestyle data gathered from more than 43,000 adults over a period of 13 years.

Researchers from the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University examined over 38,000 people from 1997 to 2010.

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

According to Bustle: "The researchers divided the people into several groups: Short sleepers, who tended to sleep for fewer than five hours per night; medium sleepers, who slept around seven hours per night; and long sleepers, who slept for nine hours or more per night".

Watch out, because sleeping over 8 hours a day also raises the mortality rate by 25% compared to those that regularly sleep for 6-7 hours. But what if you're burning the candles at both ends of the week and sleeping less than five hours on the weekend? "If you can function on what you get, you are likely getting the right amount of sleep". "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.

So forget "sleep when you're dead" - it might be more like "don't sleep, and you will be dead". One of them, Matthew Walker, said a year ago: "Sleep is not like the bank".

"I think people like the idea that you can compensate for lost sleep", Åkerstedt said.

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