Good news: You’re officially allowed to turn off your alarm this Saturday.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, people who get too little sleep during the week can make up for it on the weekends.
The researchers collected data from more than 40,000 subjects over a 13-year period, People who slept less than five hours each night throughout the week had an increased risk of early death compared to those who slept six to seven hours every night. However, people who get less than five hours during the week, but who catch up on some of that lost sleep on the weekend, do not have the same risk.
“The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the authors wrote. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”
So it really is possible to “catch up” on sleep. Plus, it’s a good excuse for being late to brunch.
However, you don't want to sleep too much. The study also found that people who regularly slept more than eight hours every night had a higher risk than those who slept six to seven.
The study also noted that people over 65 had less of a discrepancy between weekday and weekend sleep hours and feel more “well rested.” The authors surmised that sleep need tends to decrease with age.