Can you make up for lost sleep on the weekend?


"Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep".

And Michael Grandner, who heads the University of Arizona's Sleep and Health Research Program, told The Washington Post that it's wrong to believe a long sleep on the weekend can completely make up for a restless week.

Fortunately, they found that if you're one of those people who struggles to get a full night's sleep, the damage can be reversed.

Speaking to, Torbjorn Akerstedt who led the study, said there was no single factor causing death early. "That sleep is regulated by the body clock but also regulated by what is called a homeostatic process, which means the longer you are awake the more you need to sleep". They then cross-referenced this data with the national death register.

Researchers from the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University examined over 38,000 people from 1997 to 2010. For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk.

The Swedish study reiterated what we already know so well - not getting enough sleep is bad for our health.

It suggests over 65s need seven to eight hours sleep a day, while 18 - 65 year olds need seven to nine hours a day.

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The study, which included nearly 44,000 participants, concluded that "short weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects less than 65 years old".

"Even if you get two completely full nights of sleep on say Friday and Saturday night, you'll never gonna completely restore that sleepiness that you might have developed".

If a normal amount of sleep during the week is just a dream, sleep in on the weekend.

Once factors such as gender, body mass index, smoking, physical activity and shift work, were taken into account, the results revealed that those under the age of 65 who got five hours of sleep or under that amount seven days a week had a 65% higher mortality rate than those getting six or seven hours' sleep every day.

So forget "sleep when you're dead" - it might be more like "don't sleep, and you will be dead". That, Åkerstedt said, was perhaps because older individuals got the sleep they needed.

"I think people like the idea that you can compensate for lost sleep", Åkerstedt said.