Recent studies conducted over the past 13 years in Sweden have suggested sleeping less than an average of 7 hours a night can increase health risks such as diabetes, dementia and anxiety. In fact, the studies suggest that sleeping in the weekend may actually help you live longer.
The study, published in The Journal of Sleep Research, compared how much sleep people got on weekends compared to weekdays. People that slept less than 5 hours a night all week had a shorter life expectancy than people that got 7 hours a night. Interestingly enough, it also found that people that slept more than 9 hours a night had a shorter life expectancy as well.
However, for those of us who struggle to fit in enough z's during the week don't stress! The study also showed that those who slept for less than 7 hours during the week, but slept in on the weekends also reduced their premature morality risk.
"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," the study reported. "This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality."
But before you get excited about the possibility of living a longer life than your short-sleeper counter-parts, it should be noted that these studies only compared mortality rates. It did not compare other implications of shorter sleep such as short-term memory, moods, learning, appetite regulation and other health implications. Most sleep studies suggest that 7.5-8 hours is the golden number when it comes to time in the sheets.
But you can officially enjoy your few extra hours on a Saturday morning guilt free, after all - you'll live longer.
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