If you want a good excuse to catch a few more Z’s on Saturday and Sunday, do we have news for you. A new study found that sleeping in on weekends can be good for your health — so much so that it might help prevent an early death.
Researchers surveyed 43,880 subjects for the study, which was published in the Journal of Sleep Research. They found that adults under 65 years old who averaged five hours of sleep per night or less had a 65% higher chance of an earlier death than those who got an hour or two more on weekdays.
While it’s alarming, there’s a catch. For those in that age group who got a chance to sleep in on the weekend (we’re talking at least eight hours) that life-expectancy discrepancy disappears. Basically, we all now have a (medically sound) excuse to sleep more.
The study, as you may expect, took some time to complete. Researchers surveyed the group of adults for 13 years and kept track of their average sleep and health, relying on public records to alert them of their passing. They also covered all bases; body mass, the amount of exercise and physical activity the participants got on a daily basis, and whether or not they were a smoker also factored into the research.
And as stoked as we are about these findings, researches also found that too much sleep can have a negative impact on our health. The study shows that those who slept eight or more hours a day on weekdays as well as weekends had a 25% greater chance of passing away early.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should overhaul your entire life for the sake of changing up your sleep schedule. A 2017 study published online for the Journal of Sleep showed that sleep regularity is the key to good health — meaning the most important factor is getting enough sleep every single night (as opposed to making it up over a couple days).
Basically, the jury’s not quite in on this one. Now excuse us. We need a nap.