Sleep deprivation impacts performance even if you don't feel it

Sleeping in on the weekend may be one of the healthiest things you can

Scientists have long known about the connection between how much you sleep and how long you live.

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. It can give you heart problems or hurt your waistline, and it can leave you anxious and depressed.

However, research has often overlooked what happens on your days off, said sleep researcher Torbjörn Åkerstedt, co-author of a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

"Sleep duration is important for longevity", said Dr Torbjorn Akerstedt, first author of the study, at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute, also in the Swedish capital.

According to the researchers, this means that people who were impaired from chronic sleep restriction were unaware of any impairment. "This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend".

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But when the short sleepers slept in on the weekends, their mortality rate did not differ from that of the consistent seven-hour-a-night-ers. Among individuals ≥65 years old, no association between weekend sleep or weekday/weekend sleep durations and mortality was observed. For under-65s, they found while sleeping fewer than five hours a night increased mortality by 52 percent, the increased chance of death could be wiped out by getting the right amount once or twice a week.

The study found that for people 65 and under, weekend sleep could make up for deficits of sleep accrued during the week. Researchers say getting more zzzzz's on Saturday and Sunday morning may extend your life.

However, the effect of short sleeps over a few days may be countered by a later lie-in.

But weekend snoozers lived just as long as the well-slept.

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