Unfortunately, many people are not getting enough sleep nightly due to work especially those working on night shifts. But does catching more sleep during weekends beneficial for this group of people?
Extra Sleep During Weekends Counteract Damaging Effect
Just like weekend warriors, people who catch up more sleep during weekends are also doing a favor for their health. A study1 in the Journal of Sleep Research says extending sleep time during weekends could somehow counteract negative effects of little sleep during weekdays.
One particular benefit is longevity.
In conclusion, short, but not long, weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects <65 years. In the same age group, short sleep (or long sleep) on both weekdays and weekend showed increased mortality. Possibly, long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep.
Perhaps, this is one of the longevity secrets of a centenarian Japanese doctor. Although the doctor is dead already, he mentioned he only take little sleep while at work.
Well, this is just a speculation but it is truly good news for those who are working long hours and can only have extra sleep time during weekends.
In this study, researchers analyzed data from over 30,000 individuals for a 13-year period. The researchers found that adults below 65 years of age getting 5 hours or less of sleep 7 days a week have a high risk of death.
The percentage of death risk is shockingly 65% than those who get consistent 6 or 7 hours of sleep. On the other hand, people who get only a few hours of sleep during weekdays but longer sleep during weekends are not at risk.
But there is one more thing the researchers discovered. People who sleep 8 hours or more daily including weekends are 25% more at risk of mortality than those who slept 6 or 7 hours a day.
It looks like there may be a danger in sleeping beyond 8 hours consistently 7 days a week.
What Is The Ideal Sleep Time Duration?
It is clear that 6 to 7 hours a day ideal. Perhaps, the time when one goes to sleep matters most in addition to duration. The natural sleep cycle or circadian rhythm triggers the brain to get sleep as soon as darkness occurs.
Unfortunately, the majority of people particularly in the West and developed countries, sleeping time is very late. Moreover, people who are working for long hours especially during night time are also at risk of developing heart disease.
At most, getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep is good enough with an earlier bedtime. This is not the first study to suggest the benefit of getting extra sleep hours during weekends. In 2016, University of Chicago researchers say catching sleep during weekends can lower risk of diabetes.
In this short-term study, we found that two long nights spent catching up on lost sleep can reverse the negative metabolic effects of four consecutive nights of restricted sleep.