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A new study says getting more sleep on weekend mornings may extend your life.

But when the short sleepers slept in on the weekends, their mortality rate did not differ from that of the consistent seven-hour-a-night-ers.

Lead by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, professor at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the research team analysed information on health and sleeping habits gathered from 43,880 participants over the course of 13 years.

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. He was not involved in the new study. Weekend snoozers, the data showed, live just as long as those who slept enough during the week. We can't deposit zzzs over the weekend and expect to cash them out later.

"Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep", researchers said. For the sleep-deprived, sleeping in on a weekend is like eating a salad after a series of hamburger dinners - healthier, sure, but from "one perspective the damage is done".

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While the study did not investigate the link between sleep patterns and mortality rates, Dr Akerstedt said it was possible little sleep had a negative effect on the body, while consistently lengthy sleep could be a sign of underlying health problems.

He thinks a lot of people may relate to sleeping less during the week and, at the very least, may want to have an excuse for sleeping in on their days off.

The scientific jury is still out on why too much sleep is associated with an uptick in mortality rates.

Those aged 65 or under who slept five hours or less each day were around 25 % more likely to die than those who snoozed through six to seven hours. "What's more un-American than unproductive time?"


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