People who sleep in over the weekend live a healthier life.
Researchers say you shouldn't feel guilty about catching up on your Z's. But without making up for lost sleep during the week, those only getting five hours of fewer during the week did not live as long as people who consistently slept seven hours each night.
Researchers surveyed around 44,000 people in Sweden about their sleep habits, and followed up after 13 years to see who was still alive.
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"The assumption in this is that weekend sleep is a catch-up sleep", said Dr Akerstedt, though he noted the study did not prove that to be the case. People who slept too much, regularly conking out for eight hours or longer a night, also had a worse mortality rate.
"We also note that the older participants are "well rested" when they wake up, whereas the younger are definitely not 'well rested.' Our interpretation is that sleep need is reduced with increasing age".
The Swedish research team, led by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, found - in short - that "long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep". "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". The individuals were restricted to 4.67 hours of sleep for each 20-hour time period, which is the equivalent to sleeping around 5.5 hours in a 24-hour day. Will the findings of this study motivate you to change your sleep habits. This study was not an experiment, Akerstedt emphasized, and these data can not show that short or long sleep is responsible for higher mortality. "It's a fundamental part of our biology, like breathing". He was not involved in the new study.
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"It's like with your diet".
He said: "You can't keep burning the candle at both ends".
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