Sleeping in on weekends could extend your life

Sleeping in on the weekend may be one of the healthiest things you can

"Apparently, sleeping in in on the weekends can be a real help", said Åkerstedt.

A new study has found if you don't get enough during the week, a Sunday sleep-in could be what keeps you living to a ripe old age.

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

But people who managed less than five hours each day for a week, then around six to seven hours at the weekend were no more likely to die than those who consistently slept six to seven hours a day over the same period.

Differences between weekend and weekday sleep were most pronounced at a young age.

Epidemiologists who spoke with The Washington Post described the result as a plausible finding, if not a statistically robust one, that deserves more investigation.

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Researchers took various factors into account which affect mortality, such as gender, education, body mass index, severe disease, use of hypnotics (like sleeping pills, ) plus things like smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, coffee intake and employment status.

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". Long sleepers, per the new study, snoozed for nine or more hours.

Interestingly, people who slept too much, regularly hitting the hay for eight hours or longer a night, also had a worse mortality rate.

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. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends adults ages 18 to 60 sleep about seven hours per night. This study was not an experiment, Akerstedt emphasized, and these data can not show that short or long sleep is responsible for higher mortality.

Self-reporting may be considered a limitation of the study, but researchers note it's a practical way to accumulate large-scale data.

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