Do you sleep in on the weekends like your life depends on it?
Researchers have carried out a study to determine how lack of sleep during the week and weekend can correspond with an individual's mortality rate.
"Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep".
"Sleep duration is important for longevity", said Torbjörn Åkerstedt, first author of the study, at the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute, also in the Swedish capital. 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. They found that those people who received no more than five hours of sleep during the week but then managed to get at least nine hours of rest during the weekend actually had no increased risk of an early death.
And people who slept for eight or more hours, seven days a week, were found to have a 25% higher mortality rate compared with those who kept to six or seven hours a day, the research suggested.
"I suspected there might be some modification if you included also weekend sleep, or day-off sleep", he said.
The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, is based on data from more than 38,000 adults, collected during a lifestyle and medical survey conducted throughout Sweden in 1997. However, this new study found that if the former group then slept for eight hours or more on the weekend, there was no increase.
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.
For people over the age of 65, no link between sleep duration and a heightened risk of death was established.
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