Findings from a new study suggest that while mortality is increased when both weekday and weekend sleep are short, extra sleep at the weekend may compensate for midweek sleep deprivation.
The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, included 43,880 participants who were followed for 13 years. Sleep duration was self-reported at baseline.
When different combinations of weekday and weekend sleep durations were analysed, the authors observed a detrimental association with consistently sleeping five hours or less, or eight hours or more, compared with consistently sleeping six-seven hours per day (reference) among participants aged 64 and under. The mortality rate among participants with short sleep during weekdays, but long sleep during weekends, did not differ from the rate of the reference group. There was no association between weekend sleep or weekday/weekend sleep durations and mortality among participants aged 65 and over.
The authors said while more research is needed, 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. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality,” they said.