SWEDEN (WJZ) – Can you really “catch up” on your sleep by staying in bed on the weekends? A new study suggests that sleeping in on your days off can offset a lack of sleep during the work week.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, extra rest during the weekend helped to lower a person’s mortality rate if they had been suffering from a lack of sleep during the week.
“The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” researchers wrote in a press release. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend.”
Researchers from the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University examined over 38,000 people from 1997 to 2010. A survey of their sleep habits over that time found that people under 65 who slept less than five hours every night had a mortality rate 65 percent higher than people sleeping at least six hours a night.
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.
“I would say that it is all about getting the right balance,” Elise Facer-Childs from the University of Birmingham told Business Insider. “Yes, if you are extremely sleep-deprived during the week, then continuing that over the weekend isn’t ideal, and maybe you should think about getting a few more hours.”