Researchers examined data from almost 44,000 people who took part in a 1997 Swedish medical survey - and then tracked how many died within the next 13 years.
Published yesterday in the Journal of Sleep Research, the Swedish study found sleeping for less than five hours a night over the weekend increased risk of an early death by more than 50 per cent.
The researchers found that people ages 65 and under who slept 5 hours or less a night had a 65 percent higher risk of death during the 13-year study period than those who got 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night.
However, despite its ostensible health benefits, the "mini jet lag" effect of extra sleep at the weekend may actually leave you feeling more exhausted.
A growing body of research is highlighting the importance of getting a good night's sleep, with numerous studies showing that a chronic lack of shut-eye can increase your risk of death.
Torbjörn Åkerstedt, one of the authors of the study, said that previous studies had concentrated on average sleep during the working week.
However, people who slept for eight or more hours, seven days a week, were found to have a 25% higher mortality rate compared with those who kept to six or seven hours a day.
A recent study conducted on 38,000 adults concluded that those under the age of 65, with chronic sleep deprivation have a higher risk of death when compared to those who actually get six to seven hours of regular sleep.
Too much or too little sleep can literally kill you- Representational imageCreative Commons.
And Michael Grandner, who heads the University of Arizona's Sleep and Health Research Program, told The Washington Post that it's wrong to believe a long sleep on the weekend can completely make up for a restless week.
The study, which included nearly 44,000 participants, concluded that "short weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects less than 65 years old". "If you can function on what you get, you are likely getting the right amount of sleep".
As a night owl, I know what it's like to struggle with the strict schedules society has set for us.
Can you really "catch up" on your sleep by staying in bed on the weekends?
Sleep is something you need to replenish regularly if you don't want to hurt your health.
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