You Will Live Longer If You Sleep More on Saturdays and Sundays

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Researchers say you shouldn't feel guilty about catching up on your Z's.

Researchers at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute - which is Sweden's most acclaimed medical university - have published a new study that links sleeping in on the weekend to living a regular lifespan.

People who got less sleep during the week and slept in on weekends had the same mortality rate as those who get seven hours per night.

However, people who slept for short amounts of time during the week, but compensated for it by sleeping in on the weekends, displayed normal rates of mortality. Among individuals ≥65 years old, no association between weekend sleep or weekday/weekend sleep durations and mortality was observed.

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But Dr Stuart Peirson, an expert on the human "body clock" but who was not involved in the research, said the study offered a more nuanced view than previous research, which had suggested that both very little or a lot of sleep was bad for health and longevity.

And could even help you live longer. "Yes, if you are extremely sleep-deprived during the week, then continuing that over the weekend isn't ideal, and maybe you should think about getting a few more hours". Short sleepers slept for less than five hours per night.

At the time, that study's lead author, the same Torbjörn Åkersted, said that you could put the findings of his study into practice. Not in the new study. Whether that's going to bed at 8 on a Friday night, sleeping in till 11 on a Saturday morning, or snoozing in the subway on your way to meet friends, do it. Grab that sleep by the horns and don't let go - you may just live longer for it. If you don't get enough sleep, you wake up with that sleep pressure and start the day with a higher need for it. "Perhaps it's giving them hope that this habit is in some way good for them".

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