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Sleeping in on a day off feels marvelous, especially for those of us who don't get almost enough rest during the workweek.

Looking at data from 44,000 people in Sweden, they found that people who slept for five or fewer hours per day experienced higher rates of morality than those who slept for six or seven hours per day.

According to new research, getting extra sleep on the weekend can undo the damage of failing to get enough during the week, ultimately helping you live longer.

The new study, published this week in the Journal of Sleep Research, focused on the impact of weekend sleep versus weekday sleep. "This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality".

However, the effect of short sleeps over a few days may be countered by a later lie-in. Lack of sleep can have dire consequences for your health.

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The scientific jury is still out on why too much sleep is associated with an uptick in mortality rates. 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.

Researchers took various factors into account which affect mortality, such as gender, education, body mass index, severe disease, use of hypnotics (like sleeping pills, ) plus things like smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, coffee intake and employment status. That was true only for those under 65; the mortality difference disappeared for people who were older.

But weekend snoozers lived just as long as the well-slept.

"What happens is, if you are well-rested, your sleep drive will be low in the morning, and it builds and builds over the day, when at night you need to go to bed to relieve that pressure for sleep". "Perhaps it's giving them hope that this habit is in some way good for them".


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