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Sleeping in on the weekend can compensate for lost sleep, study says

29 May 2018

A recent study by Brigham and Women's Hospital has confirmed that sleep deprivation negatively impacts your work performance even when you do not feel exhausted. The researchers also found that people who slept for eight hours or more every day had a 25% higher mortality rate compared to those who managed six or seven hours a 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. Now, a new study suggests a solution: You can actually "catch up" on the health benefits of sleep you missed during the week over the weekend.

The mortality rate among participants with short sleep during weekdays, but long sleep during weekends, did not differ from the rate of the reference group.

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"If somebody is routinely awake for more than 18 hours daily, then they are also routinely sleeping for less than six hours daily", explained Dr. Klerman.

Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona's College of Medicine, who was not involved with this work, warned that sleep is not like a financial transaction.

Previous studies have found a U‐shaped relationship between mortality and (weekday) sleep duration.

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People who get too little sleep are at a significantly greater risk of dying early compared to those who are well-rested.

Curiously, after the age of 65, there is no relationship between sleep duration and mortality. This peek at weekend slumber fills in an "overlooked" gap in sleep science, Akerstedt said.

But weekend snoozers lived just as long as the well-slept. "It's a fundamental part of our biology, like breathing".

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So when Saturday morning rolls around, go ahead and turn off your alarm clock - it's for your own good. If you don't get enough sleep, you wake up with that sleep pressure and start the day with a higher need for it. Monday was found to be the day of the week when people feel the least energetic.

Sleeping in on the weekend can compensate for lost sleep, study says