The study found that individuals younger than 65 who slept for fewer than 5 hours per night the entire week faced a 52% higher mortality rate.
Researchers have found that adults under the age of 65 who get five or fewer hours of sleep for seven days a week have a higher risk of death than those who consistently get six or seven hours of shut-eye.
According to Torbjörn Åkerstedt, co-author of the study, these findings suggest that weekend sleep can supplement weeknight's rest, allowing your body to get the sleep it needs for good functioning. 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". The fate of participants was followed for up to 13 years, using a national death register.
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The study considered factors such as sex, weight, physical activity, smoking, stress at work.
This new study is actually fairly revolutionary when it comes to sleep sciences. Across the week, older people had more consistent and more often sleep over a shorter time span. People who slept too much, regularly conking out for eight hours or longer a night, also had a worse mortality rate. People in their late teens and 20s slept on average for seven hours a night during the week but 8.5 hours on days off. That was compared to those who slept seven hours a night. In the same age group, short sleep (or long sleep) on both weekdays and weekend showed increased mortality.
Self-reporting may be considered a limitation of the study, but researchers note it's a practical way to accumulate large-scale data. 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.