It's healthy to sleep in on the weekends, according to research

Lynette PayneMay 27, 2018

However, according to a recent study, enjoying some much-needed shut-eye over the weekend could have the potential to counteract the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation during the week. The researchers also came to the surprising conclusion that regularly having more than eight hours a sleep a night could also be connected with a higher mortality rate.

"I suspected there might be some modification if you included also weekend sleep, or day-off sleep", he said. Going to bed and rising at roughly the same time every day helps to regulate circadian rhythms and improve overall sleep quality and quantity.

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". However, the researchers found that individuals with short sleep during weekdays, but medium or long sleep over the weekends, had the same mortality rate as those who consistently sleep for 6-7 hours per night.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality. For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. According to a study by Swedish and US researchers, people under the age of 65 who get less than five hours sleep on the weekend had an increased risk of death.

There were a few limitations from the study.

New research suggests only sleeping for short periods, especially over the weekend, could increase the chance of an early death by a significant amount. The new study, though, focuses just on the sleeping habits of people at a specific point in time.

"This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.", concluded the authors. The impaired participants didnt even notice they were impaired from the lack of sleep, Medical Express reported. Stuart Peirson, an expert in the human body clock who was not involved in the research, told The Guardian it "fits with what we do know about sleep", offering a more nuanced view on how much sleep we need to get. "Well, you can, but you won't live as long".

"Being an inactive "couch potato" is not good for you", Siegel said in an email to TIME.

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