Wellbeing

Enjoy Sleep-Ins? You’ll Probably Live A Longer Life

Are you endlessly looking for ways to justify your poor life choices? If you’ve answered yes, oh boy, have we got the story for you! Turns out if you love a sleep-in on a day off, you’re probably going to live longer than the nerds who wake up when the sun does, says science. Your poor life choices may not be so poor after all.

The study – published in the Journal of Sleep Research – comes off the back of data sourced from more than 38,000 adults, collected during a lifestyle and medical survey in Sweden starting in 1997, after which the subjects were monitored for up to 13 years, using the national death register.

“Sleep duration is important for longevity,” said Torbjörn Åkerstedt, author of the study at the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute.

Åkerstedt said that researchers had previously observed links between sleep duration and mortality, but had focused on sleep during the working week, Monday to Friday.

“I suspected there might be some modification if you included also weekend sleep, or day-off sleep,” he says.

After factors like gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, amount of physical activity and the working conditions of subjects were taking into account, results showed that people under the age of 65 who got five hours of sleep or under that amount seven days a week had a 65% higher mortality rate than those getting six or seven hours’ sleep every day.

“The assumption in this is that weekend sleep is a catch-up sleep,” said Åkerstedt.

Obviously, the study had limitations. Participants were only asked about their sleep patterns at one point in time. But, sleep is regulated by your “body clock” and is a homeostatic (auto-regulation) process – the longer you are awake, the more sleep you require.

Basically, you can’t continually burn the candle at both ends. Sleep deprivation needs to be paid off, and a cheeky little weekend sleep-in is one way of doing so. And if you don’t catch up on sleep, you could be dramatically decreasing your life expectancy!

So next time your mum, mates or anyone is on your back for sleeping in till noon, just let them know you’re too busy nourishing your body to pay them any attention.


Bradley is a writer from regional NSW and he didn’t come here to make friends, he came to win. He tweets infrequently to his 43 followers @bradjohnston_.