So, Sleeping in on the Weekend Makes You Live Longer

You already knew that your health and wellbeing are inextricably linked to the quality (and quantity) of sleep you're getting but what might surprise you is that those long, uninterrupted weekend sleep-ins might be doing more for your health than you realised.

There has been a copious amount of research into the amount of sleep adults need but until recently, scientists had not looked at whether it was possible to make up any shortfall at the end of the week.

Now, a recent Swedish study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, explored both the impact of sleep on longevity and the effects of sleeping in.

Helmed by sleep researcher Torbjörn Åkerstedt, professor and director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the research examined the habits of over 43,000 people, and asked them various details on their sleep patterns. 13 years later, the subjects were questioned again, and the data collated found that those who slept for five hours or less each night had a higher mortality rate compared to those who slept for seven hours. Still, people who slept too much had an increased mortality rate, again.

Perhaps the most fascinating finding, though, was that if the short sleepers enjoyed regular lie-ins once a week (say, on a Saturday or Sunday) their mortality rate did not differ from the seven-hour per night group. However, this was true only for those under 65; the difference in mortality rate disappeared in people who were older.

Still, the data made clear that there are no hard and fast rules about sleep and so the amount you need may be a little more or a little less than the seven hours specified per night. If you come up short because you have too much work, you're travelling or your partner is snoring too loudly, you can restore balance by sleeping for longer when the opportunity arises. Like on the weekend, for example.

So if anyone needs us over the next few days, you'll know where to find us.

Now that we’re on the topic, here are 10 simple ways to enhance the quality of your sleep – starting from tonight! – plus the 7 things to do if you just can’t fall asleep.

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