Looking forward to a lie-in this weekend?
As if you needed an excuse to hit the snooze button, turns out catching up on some lost weekday shut eye on a Saturday and Sunday can be hugely beneficial health wise.
And could even help you live longer.
Following on from last year’s claims that enjoying a weekend lie-in can make us cleverer and have a positive impact on our waistline, there’s now even more reason to stay in bed this Saturday.
But according to a recent study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, having a well-deserved lie-in on the weekend could actually have the potential to counterbalance some of the effects of sleep loss during the week.
Researchers set out to find out how lack of sleep during the week and weekend might impact on a person’s mortality rate.
Lead by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, professor at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the research team analysed information on health and sleeping habits gathered from 43,880 participants over the course of 13 years.
They found that people who regularly slept about five hours or less a night, including on weekends, saw a higher mortality rate compared with those who regularly got seven hours.
But when the short sleepers slept in on the weekends, their mortality rate did not differ from that of the consistent seven-hour-a-night-ers.
The effect only applied to those under 65 as the mortality difference disappeared for people who were older.
Interestingly, people who slept too much, regularly hitting the hay for eight hours or longer a night, also had a worse mortality rate.
The lead study author was keen to explain that getting seven hours a night is not a hard and fast rule; some people might need more and others less. “If you can function on what you get, you are likely getting the right amount of sleep,” Åkerstedt noted.
But before you cancel tomorrow’s pre-breakfast workout in favour of some more bed time, it should also be noted that there were some limitations to the study, namely that participants were asked to recall their sleep patterns rather than being actually observed sleeping.
The conclusion of the study was somewhat vague.
“Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep,” researchers said.
We’ll take that ‘possibly’.
See you at noon tomorrow!
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