Feeling guilty about dozing until noon on your Saturday off? New research says you shouldn’t; in fact, it suggests that sleeping in on the weekend could very well save your life.
While this may sound too good to be true, the findings from a new study conducted by the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University are pretty convincing (or at least we desperately want them to be). Essentially, scientists collected sleep data from over 44,000 Swedish adults in 1997, waited 13 years and then followed up with the participants to see if there was a correlation between sleep deprivation and higher rates of mortality.
What they discovered was that, yes, those adults who consistently slept five hours or less throughout the week were more likely to have died over the ensuing 13 years than those who got at least seven. However, it appears that those who slept five hours or less could potentially help mitigate these dire effects by catching up on their Zzz’s during the weekend.
Note: The content on Sleepopolis is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t be taken as medical advice, and it shouldn’t take the place of medical advice and supervision from a trained professional. If you feel you may be suffering from any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see your healthcare provider immediately.
“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,” researchers noted. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”
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Though the study doesn’t really explore all the other reasons why subjects may or may not have died over the prescribed time period, the correlation is an interesting one to ponder, especially when it comes to questioning how much sleep we should be getting.
CREATING YOUR PERFECT SLEEP SCHEDULE
At the end of the day, figuring out how much sleep you need (and when you need to get it) is always going to be a personal thing. Many folks require a solid eight hours every night to function. Some can thrive on 5 or 6 and still others claim taking short naps throughout the day is how they get their restorative shut-eye.
To create your perfect sleep schedule, we’d suggest first learning about circadian rhythms and the different stages of sleep. That way you’ll have a better understanding of the bodily processes involved in your night’s slumber. Next, assess what parts of your regime are working and which are not. Maybe you have trouble falling asleep, but once you do, you’re good to go. Or perhaps you knock out immediately but can’t stay asleep throughout the night. Knowing your problem areas will help you to better target them with sleep remedies, fancy gadgets and other helpful sleep hacks.
Regardless of how you do it, investing in your sleep hygiene is only going to make your life better. And if you think the biggest issue might be your mattress, feel free to take a gander at some of our favorites.