Now you don’t need to feel guilty about sleeping in on the weekends! Researchers say that hitting the snooze button on Saturday and Sunday may extend your life! This is according to a new study from the Journal of Sleep Research.
The findings are based on studying nearly 44,000 people in Sweden over 13 years. Those involved with the data say that people that got less sleep during the week, but slept in on the weekends, had the same mortality rate as those sleeping seven hours every night. Your pets may be pestering you to get up and feed them, and your spouse may want you to get started on that honey-do list, but tell them you’re sleeping. Science says it may help you live longer, especially if you don’t get enough rest during the week.
We live in a hectic world. We get up every day in the morning, get ready and go to work. Our mind and body have to go through a lot of stress and extreme physical exhaustion to get our work done. If we don’t give our body the rest it needs, it will stop working properly. Our bodies will start to ache and we might even feel pain in our shoulders and neck. Then we have to pay extra medical bills.
Our mind works in the same way. Researchers found that while you sleep, the brain flushes out dangerous proteins that it makes during the day. Brains are unusually active during sleep; they’re actually going through a beneficial process that makes you smarter, perkier, and healthier during your waking hours. Inside the skull, the brain sits in a clear fluid that acts as a buffer or cushion, but that’s not all it does. During sleep, it flows between the brain cells and acts as the waste removal system of the brain. While the rest of the body’s organs have fluid from the blood flowing through them to remove waste, the brain relies on this fluid.
A study was conducted in Sweden to show that sleeping is efficient for the body. When the study was conducted, more than 45,000 volunteered. Their sleeping habits were recorded and they were asked to sleep six hours more during the weekends and this was followed up for almost 15 years. After the time period, research showed that the mortality rate among them was higher than the rest of the world.
When it comes to memory, sleep is an important issue; both too much and too little aren’t good. Aim for the right amount of sleep during the weekend.
Related article: Here’s Exactly How Much Sleep You Need According To Your Age
Although this study couldn’t prove that getting too little or too much sleep causes memory and thinking problems, it’s in line with other work showing the potentially harmful effects of poor sleep. Previous research has linked poor sleep with higher risks of heart disease and stroke, type 2 Diabetes and depression.
Poor sleep could affect the brain in another way. Sleep-deprived mice develop more deposits of a protein called ‘beta-amyloid’ in the brain compared with mice allowed to sleep normally. In humans, ‘beta-amyloid’ deposits in the brain are linked to declines in memory and thinking, and also increase the risk of dementia.
For a long time, researchers weren’t quite sure why we sleep. There are a number of different theories. Some are evolutionary, for instance, sleep keeps us out of trouble at night and away from animals that wake up and hunt after the sun goes down. Some are physiological: Sleep lets us conserve precious energy. And some are anecdotal: Parents joke that they’d go nuts if sleep didn’t exist since it affords them a much-needed break from their kids.
But the reality is that the brain does a lot of work while we’re sleeping—even though we’re unconscious, this doesn’t mean at all that the brain is “off.” In fact, in many ways, it’s incredibly “on”. It has also been discovered when the brain goes to sleep, the brain cells themselves seem to shrink, opening up spaces in between them, allowing fluid to rush through and allowing waste to be cleared out; helping the body to rejuvenate itself.