Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Weekend lie-in could reduce the risk of early death, scientists say

Weekend lie-in could reduce the risk of early death, scientists say

"Sleep duration is important for longevity", said Torbjörn Åkerstedt, first author of the study, at the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute.

The scientists discovered that people who slept five hours or fewer during the week, but got over eight hours of rest on the weekends, did not have any increase in their mortality rate.

Accounting for a few other variables like gender, BMI, physical activity, work timings, and smoking habits, the study found that for people under 65, those who got five hours or less sleep for seven days a week on the regular had a 65 percent higher mortality rate than people who slept six to seven hours. But individuals who balanced their short weekday sleep with longer weekend sleep did not appear to have any increased mortality risk. A study of Korean adolescents found that those who sleep in on the weekends to make up for a busy week actually have a higher risk of self-injury and suicidal thoughts, as noted by Popular Science, while current research also indicates that you can't make up for the cognitive decline brought on by nights with little shut-eye. A new study suggests that sleeping in on your days off can offset a lack of sleep during the work week.

To come up with these findings, researchers analyzed data from 30,000 subjects over a period of 13 years.

It suggests over 65s need seven to eight hours sleep a day, while 18 - 65 year olds need seven to nine hours a day.

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Not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of developing unsafe conditions like dementia, and could even lead to an early grave.

Having said that, the study also found that it is possible to catch up on sleep with an extended lie-in in the weekend, reports the Guardian. But channeling your inner cat and sleeping too much can be just as bad for your health, studies have found.

As a night owl, I know what it's like to struggle with the strict schedules society has set for us.

Since the longer you are awake, the more sleep you need-your "sleep debt" needs to be "paid off."

The study has its limitations, as participants were asked to recall their sleep patterns rather than being observed sleeping, but Åkerstedt has an idea about what might be driving this difference in mortality.

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