The next time you feel guilty about sleeping in on the weekend—don't. According to a new study by sleep scientists at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the extra hours of sleep might just keep you living longer. Published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the study's findings contradict the commonly held belief that cramming extra hours of sleep into a few days a week won't compensate for an overall lack of sleep.
But, by using sleep data collected from 44,000 Swedish adults in 1997, the researchers made some new discoveries about sleep patterns and mortality. The scientists followed up with the subjects 13 years after the initial data was collected, and their findings were quite interesting. It appears that those adults who received five hours of sleep or less consistently throughout the week were more likely to have died over the 13 years, as opposed to participants who received at least six or seven hours of sleep during the week.
However, having a lazy weekend appears to reverse this effect for those who only get five or fewer hours of sleep during the week. The extra hours appear to tip the scale in their favor, with their risk of death equal to those who consistently got a good night's rest. This is great news for those who have been told that there is no such thing as “catch-up” sleep.
These findings were based on participants under the age of 65, and compensated for factors like age, gender, body mass, and habits such as smoking. Over the age of 65, researchers found no correlation between sleep time and mortality. So, get your sleep in now and ensure yourself a long, fruitful life.
“The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”
h/t: [Mental Floss]