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How a lazy weekend could save your life

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If you've been burning the candle at both ends during the week, a lie-in at the weekend may help you avoid an early death, according to US and European scientists. They looked at data from 43,880 people to determine the link between sleep patterns and risk of death, and found missing out on sufficient shut-eye during the week increased the risk of an early grave, but combining it with a medium or long sleep at the weekend meant there was no increased risk.

Journal/conference: Journal of Sleep Research

Organisation/s: Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Funder: AFA Insurance and the Italian Institute (Stockholm, Sweden).

Media Release

From: Wiley-Blackwell

Can Weekend Sleep Make Up for the Detriments of Sleep Deprivation During the Week?

In a recent Journal of Sleep Research study, short, but not long, weekend sleep was associated with an increased risk of early death in individuals under 65 years of age. In the same age group, either short sleep or long sleep on both weekdays and weekends showed increased mortality when compared with consistently sleeping 6–7 hours per day.

The link between sleep duration and mortality seems to be easier to understand when considering the analysis of the joint effects of weekday and weekend sleep, the authors noted. “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,” they wrote. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”

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