For years we’ve been told that the key to a healthy sleep pattern is to stick to a routine. If you’re a 6.30am riser during the week, you should stick to the same clock at the weekend. New research this week suggests that using the extra time on your days off to catch up on lost sleep could be more beneficial in the long run.
The study published in the Journal of Sleep Research showed that those who only got five hours of sleep a night and didn’t snooze for longer on their days off had a 65 percent higher mortality rate. After 13 years of monitoring over 40,000 adults under the age of 65, the Swedish study found that those who had less than five hours a night sleep during the week but managed to catch-up at the weekend had the same mortality rate as people who consistently managed six to seven hours every night.
Strike the balance
Interestingly, the same study found that there was a limit to the amount of sleep you need. Those who consistently slept for more than eight hours a night also had higher mortality rates. So while hitting snooze for an extra couple of hours on your day off could be worthwhile, spending the whole day in bed isn’t.
The root of the problem
While the study has put an end to the debate about whether you can really catch-up on sleep, most experts would still recommend aiming for seven to eight hours sleep a night, rather than five or six. Yet for most of us, a full night of undisturbed shut-eye is a rarity. Our lifestyle and stress levels are at the highest they’ve ever been. Last week, research revealed that 79 percent of us struggle to get to sleep and a third of Brits check their emails in the middle of the night to help ease anxiety and worries.
Shabir has written at length about how to combat your stress levels, both in terms of lifestyle tweaks and natural remedies. There are, of course natural sleep remedies that you can use too – Cherry Night, £22.95, by Viridian and InsoZia, £28, by Viva Nutraceuticals being the two bestsellers for VH.