If you are feeling guilty about those long naps taken over the weekend or sleeping in, don’t. This study from the Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute says that if you don’t get enough sleep during the week, then making it up on weekends isn’t just good for you, it could help you live longer. 

The study took place over 13 years (1997 – 2010) and looked at the mortality rates and patterns of over 43 000 people who participated. During those 13 years, 3 234 people died. 

The research found that people below the age of 65 who slept for an average of five hours or less on weekdays and a minimum of eight hours on weekends had the same risk of death as those who got an average of six to seven hours of sleep every night including weekends. 

READ MORE: Here’s how to tell if you’re ready to exercise again after a cold or the flu

But the most important thing is here is obviously making up for lost sleep because adults who averaged fewer than five hours a night during the week and didn’t make up for it on weekends didn’t live as long as the people who regularly got a decent amount of shut eye every night (about seven hours). Also, those who slept in on the weekend were shown to live just as long as those who got enough sleep during the week. 

But we already know that getting enough sleep is good for your health. In fact, Health24 says it can improve your vital functions and even your body weight. The article points out that you’re more at risk for many things like heart disease, diabetes and obesity and even car accidents.

It affects many things including your judgement and leads to higher levels of stress hormones. Apparently there is no magic number when it comes to how much you need to sleep, but rather it depends on your unique circumstances and how much sleep you really need. 

According to Business Insider, South Africans are the earliest risers in the world according to data mined from the glabal app Sleep Cycle. It shows that South Africans spend an average of seven hours and 20 minutes in bed, going to bed at 11:00pm and waking up around 6:20am.

Hopefully we’re all making up for it on weekends by sleeping a little later and taking a sneaky afternoon nap. 

We also asked our readers to tell us how much sleep they get during the week and over weekends. Surprisingly, it looks like the majority are actually managing to get a decent amount of sleep during the week and over weekends with 50% saying they got six to eight hours sleep during the week and 54% saying they got more than eight hours of sleep over the weekend. So we are looking after ourselves, yay!

READ MORE: Get to know the reasons behind your bad sleeping habits

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Do you make up for lack of sleep during the week over weekends?