Sleeping in on the weekend can compensate for lost sleep, study says

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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.

The scientists discovered that people who slept five hours or fewer during the week, but got over eight hours of rest on the weekends, did not have any increase in their mortality rate.

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. Short sleepers slept for less than five hours per night, medium sleepers about seven hours and long sleepers for nine or more hours per night.

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Dr Akerstedt said researchers had previously looked at links between sleep duration and mortality but had focused on sleep during the working week. Not in the new study. 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.

It's not so much about being able to store up sleep, but he thinks short sleepers who are changing their habits on the weekends are making up for some of what they lost during the week. This study was not an experiment, Akerstedt emphasized, and these data can not show that short or long sleep is responsible for higher mortality.

There are few things in life more satisfying than crawling into bed on Friday night knowing you'll get a well-deserved lie-on in the morning. Monday was found to be the day of the week when people feel the least energetic. To the authors' credit, he said, they were aware they did not have a fine brush, and accordingly painted a broad outline of sleep habits.

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