Sleep in this weekend. It’s good for you.

Sleep in this weekend. It’s good for you.

Bad things happen when humans don’t get enough sleep. We get irritable in the short term, distracted over time, and we’re at a greater risk of dementia in the long term. But we’ve been told that trying to play catch-up with our sleep is a bad idea. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker puts it this way:

“Sleep is not like the bank. You can’t accumulate a debt and pay it off at a later point in time. If I were to deprive you of sleep an entire night, and then in a subsequent night give you all the sleep you want, you never get back all that you’ve lost. You will sleep longer, but you will never achieve that full eight-hour repayment. The brain has no capacity to get back that lost sleep.”

But sleeping late on the weekend might actually be good for you. The study from Stockholm University, published in the journal Sleep, looked at the sleeping habits and overall health of 43,000 people.

The results showed that people who slept less than five hours a night, or more than 8 hours a night, had much higher rates of mortality than those who slept between five and eight hours. Overall, it was the average amount of sleep somebody got that seemed to make a difference.

Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a biological psychology professor at the Center for Stress Research at Stockholm University, and lead author of the study, said this seems to show that if you suffer from bad sleep over the week, and make up for it at the weekend, you might be doing your body a favor.

“It seems like you actually can compensate by catching up on sleep during weekends,” Åkerstedt said. “This is in effect an argument for lazing around all weekend. There probably is an upper limit, but it’s anyway better to increase [sleep hours] on the weekend rather than not doing it at all.”