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A 13-year study of more than 43,000 people in Sweden found that regularly sleeping 5 hours or less increased people's chances of dying by 65%, compared to those sleeping around 7 hours. However, there was no increased risk among people who slept 5 hours or less on weekdays but for 7 or more hours at weekends, suggesting the weekend lie-in might compensate for lack of sleep during the week.
Previous studies seemed to suggest that both short and long sleep was linked to illness and dying earlier, but they tended not to differentiate between weekdays and weekends.
The study is the first to look at how differences between sleep on work days and days off might interact. This study confirmed that people who regularly slept 9 hours or more on both weekdays and weekends also had a higher risk of death.
The above results apply only to adults aged under 65, the usual retirement age in Sweden. Over that age, the researchers found no difference between people's weekend or weekday sleep, and no link between sleep duration and how long they lived.
Find out more about how to get a good night's sleep.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Karolinksa Institute and Stockholm University in Sweden, and Texas A&M University in the US. It was funded by the Italian Institute Stockholm and AFA Insurance, and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sleep Research.
The Guardian report gave a good overview of the study, although the headline overstated the link between a lie-in and a longer life.
The Sun also provided a concise and accurate report of the study.