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You can catch up on your sleep debt on weekends, study suggests

Sleeping in on a day off feels marvelous, especially for those who don’t get nearly enough rest during the workweek. But are the extra weekend winks worth it? It is a question that psychologist Torbjorn Akerstedt, director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, and his colleagues tried to answer in a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Sleep Research.

Akerstedt and his colleagues tracked more than 38,000 people in Sweden over 13 years, with a focus on their weekend vs. weekday sleeping habits. This peek at weekend slumber fills in an ‘‘overlooked’’ gap in sleep science, Akerstedt said.

Previous sleep studies asked people to count their hours of sleep for an average night, without distinguishing between workdays and days off. In the new study people under the age of 65 who slept for five hours or less every night, all week, did not live as long as those who consistently slept seven hours a night.