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Sleeping in on the weekend may be one of the healthiest things you can do

author image Leah Groth
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.
Sleeping in on the weekend may be one of the healthiest things you can do
Sleeping in on the weekend can counteract the damage done from not getting your zs during the week, according to new research. Photo Credit: dualstock/iStock/GettyImages

According to new research, getting extra sleep on the weekend can undo the damage of failing to get enough during the week, ultimately helping you live longer. Best. News. EVER.

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Most of us would love to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night every single day of the week. But life circumstances often get in the way of our beloved snooze-time — especially Monday through Friday. And while it's not fun to walk around like a total zombie, not getting enough sleep can seriously impact your health and is linked to several major illnesses. Several studies even maintain it can actually cut years off your life expectancy.

For years sleep scientists have been advocating the importance of regular sleep patterns — negating the concept of making up for lost sleep on the weekends. However, a brand new study is questioning that. Researchers from Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University claim the damage done from your lack of sleep during the week can be overturned — just by getting some extra hours of shuteye on Saturday and Sunday. As if you needed another excuse to sleep in on the weekend!

"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," the researchers, led by director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University Torbjorn Akerstedt, explained. Instead, it is the average amount of hours you get per week that make the most difference (according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need on average 7-9 hours sleep a night — so 49-63 hours per week).

In the study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, data from more than 43,000 adults collected in Sweden in 1997 was analyzed, with researchers checking the national death register to monitor what happened to each of their subjects over the next 13 years. They learned that adults under age 65 who got a mere five hours or less sleep per night, were at a greater risk of early death than those who racked up six or seven hours. However, the "lack of sleepers" who made up for their shortage of hours on the weekends, had no raised mortality risk compared to those who slept a steady six or seven every day of the week.

While getting enough sleep is important, don’t be confused: Researchers found that people getting too much sleep — eight hours or more every day — had a 25 percent higher mortality rate compared to those who average six or seven. This information is consistent with previous studies, which have found oversleeping may increase the chance of early death due to cardiovascular disease.

Still many experts campaign the importance of getting a regular, consistent six to seven hours of sleep per night, so if that’s doable, get your sleep on. But if it just isn’t possible — because, you know, life happens — make sure to use this study as an excuse to sleep in come Saturday!

Read more: 8 Scary Things That Happen When You Don’t Sleep Enough

What Do YOU Think?

How much sleep do you get during the week versus the weekend? What is your average amount of sleep per week? Will the findings of this study motivate you to change your sleep habits.

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