But this study suggested that catching up on sleep over the weekend could alleviate that risk. The researchers used this data to draw conclusions about how total sleep, as well as workday versus day-off sleep, relates to mortality.
With the research, the scientists have proven that shorter sleep during weekdays will not increase the risk of death if a person compensates for it with longer sleep during weekends.
Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality. (In case I hadn't stressed this enough, sleep really is important!) But they also showed that people who got five hours of sleep a night during the week and then caught up on weekends by snoozing for eight hours or more a night experienced the same mortality rate as those who consistently slept six or seven hours nightly.
"The sleep guru", hypnotherapist Anandi suggests lying on your back and putting your legs up a wall to help you drift off.
Researchers examined data from almost 44,000 people who took part in a 1997 Swedish medical survey - and then tracked how many died within the next 13 years.
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The study, published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people experiencing less than six hours of sleep were five times as likely to suffer from attention lapses, delayed reaction times and decreased vigilance.
But there was no increased risk of death for those who slept five or fewer hours during the week but then managed eight or more hours' sleep on weekend days.
However, these previous studies focused on weekday sleep, and Åkerstedt said the team "suspected that may not be enough". The impaired participants didnt even notice they were impaired from the lack of sleep, Medical Express reported.
The study had limitations; participants were only asked about their sleep patterns at one point in time.
"People change their sleep duration over time".
"It fits with what we do know about sleep - 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". "If you eat OK during the week and you splurge a little on the weekend, you probably aren't hurting your health, but if you eat crap all week, no amount of Brussels sprouts or kale that you eat on the weekends can make up for that", he said.