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How a weekend sleep-in could help you avoid an early death

How a weekend sleep-in could help you avoid an early death

The study, which included nearly 44,000 participants, concluded that "short weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects less than 65 years old".

The study, published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people experiencing less than six hours of sleep were five times as likely to suffer from attention lapses, delayed reaction times and decreased vigilance.

Sleep expert Michael Grandner explains it this way: Most people who are considered "short sleepers" are probably just shy of getting seven hours.

A sleep study revealed that less than six hours of sleep a day can limit the brains ability to function properly.

We're all prone to a long lie-in on the weekends, especially when we've spent the week getting crummy sleep.

Fortunately, they found that if you're one of those people who struggles to get a full night's sleep, the damage can be reversed.

"Sleep duration is important for longevity", said Torbjörn Åkerstedt, first author of the study, at the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute, also in the Swedish capital.

But there's good news for people who do all their sleeping in on the weekend-subjects who under-slept five days and slept more during the last two days of the week had no greater risk of death than the people who got healthy amounts of sleep every night of the week.

But when the short sleepers slept in on the weekends, their mortality rate did not differ from that of the consistent seven-hour-a-night sleepers.

However, these previous studies focused on weekday sleep, and Åkerstedt said the team "suspected that may not be enough".

Interestingly, study participants who consistently got more than eight hours of sleep a night were found to have a 25% higher mortality rate.

"People change their sleep duration over time. More so, our study suggests the importance of longer episodes of sleep, rather than a ‘split sleep schedule, though further evidence would be needed to test this directly". They might sleep six hours or slightly less. "It's a requirement", said Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson. Nine were forced to stay awake for 15.33 hours while only allowed 4.67 hours of sleep in a 20-hour "day".

Sleep is also highly individual. He said: "You can't keep burning the candle at both ends".

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