When the workweek is done and you have an entire weekend to fill any way you like, it’s only natural to feel a bit guilty when you find yourself sleeping in until noon and spending precious time out of the office in bed. However, a new study makes a convincing argument for why catching some extra z’s on the weekend is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it might actually be a major benefit to your health.
A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found a relationship between time spent sleeping and longevity of life. Researchers concluded that sleeping less than five hours a night on the weekdays and weekends was related to a higher mortality risk compared to those who consistently sleep around six to seven hours each night. However, those who don’t get much sleep during the week but play catch up on the weekend were at no greater risk of mortality.
Researchers studied 43,880 subjects for 13 years, taking into account factors that might affect mortality risk. Among participants under age 65, sleeping less than five hours a night during the weekends was associated with a 52 percent higher mortality rate compared to those who slept for seven hours a night. However, when people got little sleep during the week and then slept longer on the weekends, they had no greater risk of mortality.
The authors of this study concluded that short weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality rate in people under age 65. That means that sleeping in on the weekends may be the key to helping your body recover from short weekday sleep. While the study also supports the idea that consistently getting six to seven hours of sleep a night is ideal, when that’s not possible, making up for lack of sleep on the weekends is the best alternative. So when Saturday and Sunday come around, sleep easy knowing you’re doing it for your health.