If you’re planning to sleep in this weekend, there’s no need to feel guilty – it could help you live longer.
A large Swedish study looked into the ways in which a person’s age and sleep can impact their longevity. The researchers, who examined the data of roughly 43,000 participants, found that those aged 65 or under were the most affected by how much sleep they got.
It was concluded that those who had an average of less than five hours’ sleep per night had a higher likelihood of early death. Crucially, though, the researchers said that it is possible to bring up your average sleep time – and in turn increase your chances of living a longer life – by compensating for any week-day sleep loss with weekend lie-ins. Torbjörn Åkerstedt, lead researcher, said:
“It seems like you actually can compensate by catching up on sleep during weekends. This is in effect an argument for lazing around all weekend… There probably is an upper limit, but it’s anyway better to increase [sleep hours] on the weekend rather than not doing it at all.”
This isn’t the first time a study has found sleeping in to have health benefits, but it’s important to take these things with a pinch of salt as there has also been a lot of contradictory evidence suggesting that it is impossible to ‘catch up’ on sleep at the weekends. Hmm.
What we do know, though, is that regularly getting a good night’s sleep (generally 7-9 hours per night) is hugely beneficial when it comes to both mental and physical wellbeing. It’s also important to remember to listen to your body, as everyone is different and therefore requires different amounts of sleep. Speaking to NetDoctor, sleep coach Nick Littlehales emphasised this, saying:
“Some [people] can survive on a lot less [sleep], some can do it in very different climates and cultures. Too little or less, quantity and quality is something every individual has to find out themselves within the parameters of we need it.”
So, if you’re absolutely exhausted after a hard week at work, treating yourself to a weekend lie-in is probably no bad thing.