Why Catching up on Sleep May Increase Longevity

M.A., Health Writer

You want to sleep in Saturday morning, but duty calls: a garage that needs cleaning out and a Super Saturday sale. But hitting snooze may do your body good: a new Swedish study in the Journal of Sleep Research found extra weekend snoozing may help and that "long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep."

Researchers looked at 43,880 subjects for 13 years. The authors found:

  • Among people younger than 65, short sleep (less than 5 hours) during weekends was associated with a 52 percent higher mortality rate during the study compared to the reference group that got 7 hours. They noted no association for sleep longer than 9 hours.

  • A detrimental association with consistently sleeping less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours, versus consistently sleeping 6-7 hours per day.

  • Mortality rates didn't differ among people with short sleep on weekdays, and long sleep on weekends, compared to the reference group at 7 hours.

  • Surprisingly, for people 65 or older, no association existed between weekend sleep or weekday/weekend sleep durations and mortality.

Sourced from: the Journal of Sleep Research