You’ve long heard the warning that you should try to keep a consistent sleep schedule, waking up as close as possible to the same time every day, including weekends. But some recent research has found a slight exception to that rule, giving you permission to snooze past sunrise on leisurely weekend mornings.
A study from researchers at Stockholm University published in the journal Sleep followed the sleeping patterns of 43,000 people and concluded that those who got an average five to eight hours of sleep per night had lower mortality rates than individuals whose nightly sleep average fell outside of that range.
If your weeknight average is five hours or lower, boosting it by squeezing in some extra winks on weekends could be beneficial. Scientists refute the myth that you can directly cancel out the damage from a sleepless night with an extra-long snooze sesh the next day. But adhering to a daily sleep routine on weekends might not be the best move if you’re exhausted from weeknight sleep deprivation.
As the study’s lead author Torbjörn Åkerstedt told Business Insider, “It’s anyway better to increase [sleep hours] on the weekend rather than not doing it at all.”
Still, don’t forget the tried and true advice about maintaining a sleep routine: That’s still the healthiest approach. But for those who can’t manage to stay consistent, fitting in extra rest when possible (but keeping that average under eight hours) is the next best thing.