Sleeping in on weekends could extend your life, study says

Phillip Cunningham
May 29, 2018

And while it's still probably healthy to get a consistent, long night's rest, this suggests that sleeping in during the weekend is not only ok, but actually encouraged.

Their findings stated that those under the age of 65 who had five hours sleep or less at the weekends had a 52 per cent higher mortality rate than those who had six or seven hours sleep.

The study followed the sleep habits of 43,880 subjects over the course of 13 years.

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.

"Sleep duration is important for longevity", said Dr Torbjorn Akerstedt, first author of the study, at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute, also in the Swedish capital.


Lack of enough sleep can lead to serious health problems.

A superior metaphor, he said, is a diet.

They did account for other factors influencing sleep, such as alcohol and coffee consumption, smoking habits, shift work and more. 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.

"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.

He thinks a lot of people may relate to sleeping less during the week and, at the very least, may want to have an excuse for sleeping in on their days off. Those older than 65, the standard retirement age in Sweden, on average reported no difference in weekend sleep duration - they slept for just under seven hours every night, all seven days. The researchers believe that as we age, our need for sleep decreases. It is otherwise impractical to accumulate data at such a scale.

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