Sleeping in on weekends could save your life

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However, people who slept for less than 5 hours a night during the week could eliminate that increased risk by sleeping for more than 8 hours a night over the weekend.

The findings are based on almost 44,000 people in Sweden over a 13-year period.

According to the researchers, this means that people who were impaired from chronic sleep restriction were unaware of any impairment.

There's no clear-cut answer yet on why sleeping on weekends makes a difference. It's a question that psychologist Torbjorn Akerstedt, director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, and his colleagues tried to answer in a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Sleep Research. Weekend snoozers, the data showed, live just as long as those who slept enough during the week. It followed 43,000 people over the course of 13 years.

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

Epidemiologist and cardiovascular doctor Franco Cappuccio at the University of Warwick in England, also not a member of the research team, said that the study "looks good" but that the authors missed a trick: "a full explanation of the possibility of daytime napping". They might sleep six hours or slightly less.

"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 our days off. The researchers believe that as we age, our need for sleep decreases. They are the ones who can compensate with longer rest on the weekends, because there is not as much of a deficit. Will the findings of this study motivate you to change your sleep habits.

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