The general rule of thumb used to be that you couldn’t make up for lost sleep, but now a new study says that it might not be a bad idea to catch a few extra hours of shut-eye on the weekend if you need it.
It appears that the amount of time people spend sleeping in total is more important than the number of hours they get on any given night, a recent study published in the journal Sleep says. This contradicts long-held beliefs that sleep is not something that could be caught up on and that sleepless nights caused irreversible damage.
“It seems like you actually can compensate by catching up on sleep during weekends,” the study’s lead author, Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a biological psychology professor at the Center for Stress Research at Stockholm University told Business Insider. “This is in effect an argument for lazing around all weekend.”
The study looked at the sleeping habits and general health of 43,000 people and discovered that both too little sleep — but also too much sleep — lead to higher rates of early mortality. It found that the ideal number of hours that a person should spend sleeping per night is seven; and that less than six or more than eight started to tip the scales towards serious health issues.
But at the end of a long week, if your body feels like it needs a few extra hours spent snoozing, don’t feel too badly about it.
“There probably is an upper limit,” Åkerstedt said, “but it’s anyway better to increase (hours spent sleeping) on the weekend rather than not doing it at all.”
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