Sleeping in on the weekend can compensate for lost sleep, study says

A recent study by Brigham and Women's Hospital has confirmed that sleep deprivation negatively impacts your work performance even when you do not feel tired

A recent study by Brigham and Women's Hospital has confirmed that sleep deprivation negatively impacts your work performance even when you do not feel tired

According to the researchers, this means that people who were impaired from chronic sleep restriction were unaware of any impairment.

They found that people who regularly slept about five hours or less a night, including on weekends, saw a higher mortality rate compared with those who regularly got seven hours. The findings showed that people who slept for short amounts of time during the week and the weekend had a 52% increased rate of mortality.

The study, led by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, the director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, tracked more than 43,000 people over a span of 13 years. Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep.

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.

Not in the new study.

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The study revealed that participants who were suffering from a lack of sleep had five times more attention lapses and their reaction time was doubled during tests. We can't deposit zzzs over the weekend and expect to cash them out later.

There's no clear-cut answer yet on why sleeping on weekends makes a difference. 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". Monday was found to be the day of the week when people feel the least energetic.

But channeling your inner cat and sleeping too much can be just as bad for your health, studies have found. That was compared to those who slept seven hours a night.

Self-reporting may be considered a limitation of the study, but researchers note it's a practical way to accumulate large-scale data.

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