Life

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Enjoying a weekend lie-in may add years to your life - report shows

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialised nations. Stock image
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialised nations. Stock image

Nick Bramhill

Good news for anyone who enjoys a lie-in at the weekend – a prolonged stay in bed could be the key to a longer and healthier life.

Scientists have found evidence that sleeping in over the weekend reduces the risk of premature death.

Researchers claimed the benefits of a long lie-in on Saturdays and Sundays benefited people who slept for shorter periods during the week.

The study, which analysed the sleep habits of 43,000 people under 65 years of age, found that those who got only five hours of sleep a night were increasing their mortality risks.

However, the research team, from Stockholm University, also discovered that those who got only five hours of sleep on weeknights faced no increased risk of mortality if they slept in over the weekend.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Sleep Research, involved analysis of death records to determine how sleep habits had affected mortality rates.

“Long weekend sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep,” a spokesperson for the study said.

“The results imply that short weekday sleep is not a risk factor for mortality, if it is combined with medium or long weekend sleep.

“This suggests that short weekday sleep may very well be compensated for during

the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night to function at their best.

Children and teens need even more sleep to function properly.

Despite these recommendations, it appears that enjoying a good night’s sleep is becoming increasingly out of reach for more and more Irish people.

According to other recent findings, from RTE documentary Awake, more than four in 10 Irish adults get six hours’ sleep or less on an average weeknight, while females are more likely than males to sleep five hours or less on any night of the week.

A lack of sleep affects every system in the body, according to health experts.

People who fail to get enough rest are more likely to suffer obesity, short-term memory loss and poor concentration.

A lack of good-quality sleep has also been linked to high blood pressure and cancer.

Herald

Editors Choice

Also in Life