Life

Why Sleeping In on a Saturday Could Be a Very Healthy Choice

Recent studies suggest that getting too little sleep is bad for your heart, but that sleeping in could be a significant help.

If you’re like me, you like to start your Saturday as late as possible, sleeping in well past the time you’d get up on a weekday. Science now suggests the practice could make a difference to your health.

Even the authors of the Bible understood the importance of rest. Based on inspiration from God, since those authors weren’t around at the time, they wrote that God created the universe in six days and took the seventh as a day of rest.

The message to be had from this, on one level, is that we should always take a day for rest and refocus. The message on another level is that regular rest is an important part of the process.

But no one is suggesting you work six days straight and then try to cram all your rest in every seventh day.

It’s the rest you get during the week that makes the difference, according to an increasing number of studies and reports.

HealthyWay.com recently listed “The Worst Habits for Your Heart (Besides Smoking)” and the very first one was not getting enough sleep. The post reported that studies had found people who slept less than six hours a night had “a whopping 79 percent increased incidence of coronary heart disease than those who slept eight hours or more.” Those who slept less, the site reported, had a higher chance of calcification in their coronary arteries.

But that’s just one of many sites that explain how important sleep is to your body and your overall health.

Marketwatch reported a study that found those who sleep less than six hours a night have a 13% higher mortality rate than those who get between seven and nine hours.

WebMD reported additional benefits of getting more sleep, including a better sex life, less chronic pain and stronger immunity.

On most days, sleeping in is easier said than done.

For some of us, there’s generally only one day a week that sleeping in happens to be an option: Saturday. During those weeks where less than seven hours of sleep seems unavoidable, is trying to catch up on missed rest in a single day really worth even shooting for?

Well, according to the results of a 13-year study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, it might be possible.

The study, Health.com reported, determined that of 43,000 adults under 65 in Sweden researchers monitored, those who consistently slept five hours or less were 65% more likely to die early than those who slept more. But then there’s this:

But those who reported short sleep during the week and long sleep on the weekends seemed protected: Despite skimping on shuteye Sunday through Thursday nights, they had no increased mortality risk compared to those who consistently got six to seven hours.

No one is suggesting that “cramming sleep” is a particularly good idea; the research seems quite consistent that getting enough sleep regularly is best for your health.

This study, at least, gives those of us who may not sleep as well (or often) as we’d like the hope that we can at least make up for our “sleep debt” a little.

I’m fortunate to have a dog who not only loves to sleep in, but who is willing to join me for a nap whenever I have the time.

Many people rely on dogs to serve as exercise partners and help get them out of the house more often. Maybe some of us can allow our canine companions to remind us to get more sleep more often as well!

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.