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Weekends are my saving grace - I wake up at 4 a.m. during the week, and I have zero qualms about sleeping until 10 on the weekends (or as late as my children allow). Researchers say getting more zzzzz's on Saturday and Sunday morning may extend your life.

According to a study by Swedish and United States researchers, people under 65-years-old are at greater risk of death if they get less than five hours sleep on the weekends.

"The assumption in this is that weekend sleep is a catch-up sleep", said Dr Akerstedt, though he noted the study did not prove that to be the case.

This study follows previous research, including another sleep study that found that weekend sleep can compensate for missed weekday sleep. They might sleep six hours or slightly less.

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.

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

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People who get too little sleep are at a significantly greater risk of dying early compared to those who are well-rested. Meaning sleeping in on weekends appears to restore your body.

Not in the new study.

However, people who slept for eight or more hours, seven days a week, were found to have a 25 per cent higher mortality rate compared with those who kept to six or seven hours a day.

Self-reporting may be considered a limitation of the study, but researchers note it's a practical way to accumulate large-scale data. "It's a fuzzy picture that's true", he said. "What's more un-American than unproductive time?"

A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.


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