Sleeping in on days off may extend your life, study suggests

If you need another reason to sleep in on your days off, researchers in Sweden have found that sleeping in on off days could help you live longer.

In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, researchers found people younger than 65 who got less sleep during the week, but slept in on weekends had the same mortality rate as people who got seven hours of sleep each night.

The study tracked more than 43,000 people over a 13 year span.

“The mortality rate among participants with short sleep during weekdays, but long sleep during weekends, did not differ from the rate of the reference group,” the study summary says. “Among individuals ≥65 years old, no association between weekend sleep or weekday/weekend sleep durations and mortality was observed.”

“In conclusion, short, but not long, weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects <65 years,” the study says. “In the same age group, short sleep (or long sleep) on both weekdays and weekend showed increased mortality. Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep.”

However, epidemiologists who spoke to The Washington Post warned that you shouldn’t purposely deprive yourself of sleep during the week and count on making it up over the weekend.

“Sleep is not like a financial transaction. We can’t deposit zzzs over the weekend and expect to cash them out later,” the Post wrote.

Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, compared it to a diet.

“For the sleep-deprived, sleeping in on a weekend is like eating a salad after a series of hamburger dinners — healthier, sure, but from ‘one perspective the damage is done.'”

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