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Get That Beauty Rest On Saturdays: New Study Says Sleeping In On Weekends Helps You Live Longer

As if we needed another reason to turn off our alarm clocks on Saturday morning. It seems sleeping in on the weekend increases your mortality rate, especially if you’re not getting enough rest during the week, according to a new study.

Familiar with the phrase, “I’m just gonna sleep until my eyes pop open?” That’s not a bad idea after hearing about this study published in the Journal of Sleep Research. The co-author the study, Swedish scientist, Torbjorn Akerstedt, discovered that people who slept five hours or less on the weekends had a higher mortality rate compared to those who got seven hours of sleep.

But here’s the kicker- the study found those who slept too much – eight hours or more a night-also had a high mortality rate. And the popular belief f catching up on lost sleep during the week, is just that a belief. However research in that debate is still subjective. The death rate for people who slept less than five hours was 65%, people who snoozed more than hours a night had a 25% mortality rate.

“I think people like the idea that you can compensate for lost sleep,” Åkerstedt told CNN. “Perhaps it’s giving them hope that this habit is in some way good for them.”
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Just think of your body as a machine, lack of sleep can cause it to break down. Side effects could include heart problems, weight gain, anxiety and depression. But between work, kids and the daily challenges that come with ‘adulting’ catching all of our zzz’s can be a challenge. Below are a few tips to help you get the right amount of rest you need:
  • Set a bedtime– nope its not just for the kids
  • Avoid caffeine – nicotine, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol will have you more alert than chilled. And although a late night glass of mind or cold beer can be relaxing and give you a drowsy feeling ( especially if you drunk too much), it could disrupt your sleep pattern and you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night. If you must drink something for bed, the top five beverages doctors suggest are: dairy milk, soy milk, herbal tea ( specifically chamomile) , banana smoothie and smoothies with magnesium-containing foods such as spinach, nuts and seeds. Foods with magnesium help your muscles to relax.
  • Avoid those late-night cravings– the later the time, the bigger the waistline.
  • Limit daytime naps– That midday ‘itis’ can be addicting but afternoon naps can interfere with your nighttime sleep. However, if you have to nap do so for only 30 minutes and unless you work nights, try to avoid sleeping in the late afternoon.
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  • Avoid electronics– According to the National Sleep Foundation, watching television and using tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices can delay your body’s internal clock and slow down the release of the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. In other words, it makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Staying on your phones and devices at night can also reduces the total amount of REM sleep.
  • Increase physical activity during the day– Keep busy! You know how we always try wear toddlers out so they will go to bed at a decent time at night? Adults almost have to do the same thing. Work-out, take on an extra project at work, spend as much time as you can outside; all of these activities promote better sleep and reduce the likelihood of developing sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
  • Finally- the environment of your bedroom– Your sleeping environment should be a place of peace and tranquility. Doctors suggest keeping your room between 60-67 degrees, dark curtains and minimum to no light. Also clear your space of any noises or distractions, this includes the aggravated snoring of your significant snoring. And if you have to, direct them to the couch in the living room.
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Sources: The National Sleep Foundation, Mayo Clinic, Journal of Sleep Research

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