Weekend lie-ins could help you avoid an early death, study says

Grant Boone
May 27, 2018

Can you really "catch up" on your sleep by staying in bed on the weekends? "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".

Sleeping in on weekends to catch up on missed sleep over a long and tiring work week does not only feel wonderful, but it also may help you live longer.

Good news for all us alarm snoozers - time to pay off that sleep debt.

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, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher. The team pointed out that they only assessed individuals aged 65 or under, not bearing the sleeping habits and mortality rates of those older in mind. A new study suggests that sleeping in on your days off can offset a lack of sleep during the work 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.

"Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep", the authors wrote.

Subtropical Storm Alberto takes aim at Gulf Coast
Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio as well as the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys. The system is expect to intensify during the weekend and will likely consolidate into a tropical storm at some point on Sunday.

Sleeping in feels great, and now a new study from sleep scientists at Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute finds that it may also be an effective way to make up for the sleep you missed during the week, contradicting previously held beliefs on the matter. 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.

Although busy bees will be pleased to hear their hectic lifestyles won't negatively impact their longevity (at least where zzz's are concerned), you should know that the study is limited: Participants were only asked about their sleep habits once in 1997, and they self-reported them, which sacrifices accuracy.

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.

There were a few limitations from the study.

Despite those potential issues, "body clock" researcher Stuart Peterson told The Guardian that the study adds much needed context.

Don't sleep too much, however. He said: "You can't keep burning the candle at both ends".

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