Sleep deprivation impacts performance even if you don't feel it

Researchers have carried out a study to determine how lack of sleep during the week and weekend can correspond with an individual's mortality rate.

Researchers say you shouldn't feel guilty about catching up on your Z's.

Results showed that people who get less that five hours sleep throughout the week, but enjoyed some extra shut-eye on the weekends, had no heightened mortality risk.

Lead by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, professor at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the research team analysed information on health and sleeping habits gathered from 43,880 participants over the course of 13 years.

The new study, published this week in the Journal of Sleep Research, focused on the impact of weekend sleep versus weekday sleep.

Curiously, after the age of 65, there is no relationship between sleep duration and mortality. "If you can function on what you get, you are likely getting the right amount of sleep". Short sleepers slept for less than five hours per night.

It's not so much about being able to store up sleep, but he thinks short sleepers who are changing their habits on the weekends are making up for some of what they lost during the week.

Sleep is something you need to replenish regularly if you don't want to hurt your health.

A man sleeping in bed Infront of an alarm clock.

After a week of early starts, most people look forward to having a long lie-in on the weekend and it turns out that by doing so we're actually prolonging our life.

He said: "You can't keep burning the candle at both ends". People in their late teens and 20s slept on average for seven hours a night during the week but 8.5 hours on days off. That, Dr Akerstedt said, was perhaps because older individuals got the sleep they needed.

  • Santos West