Weekend lie-ins could help you avoid an early death, study says

Getty Images How to live longer Getting a good amount of sleep can help increase your lifespan

Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday could help people live longer if they aren't getting enough sleep during the week, according to a new research.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

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.

"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.

From there researchers performed tests on the participants to study their reaction times.

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"This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend and that this has implications for mortality", the authors concluded. Their findings stated that those under the age of 65 who had five hours sleep or less at the weekends had a 52 per cent higher mortality rate than those who had six or seven hours sleep.

And people who slept for eight or more hours, seven days a week, were found to have a 25% higher mortality rate compared with those who kept to six or seven hours a day, the research suggested.

Scientists have long known about the connection between how much you sleep and how long you live.

Staying in the position for 10 minutes helps to calm down your mind, and prepare you for a restful night's sleep, she said.

Although busy bees will be pleased to hear their hectic lifestyles won't negatively impact their longevity (at least where zzz's are concerned), you should know that the study is limited: Participants were only asked about their sleep habits once in 1997, and they self-reported them, which sacrifices accuracy. "The real question is whether there is, in fact, a build-up of deficit, or biological changes that are gradual over time, even though you get recovery sleep". If you don't get enough sleep, you wake up with that sleep pressure and start the day with a higher need for it. "If you eat OK during the week and you splurge a little on the weekend, you probably aren't hurting your health, but if you eat crap all week, no amount of Brussels sprouts or kale that you eat on the weekends can make up for that", he said.

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