Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 01 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Alphonsus Liguori
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

3 New findings that could change the way you sleep



Dolors Massot - published on 06/18/18

Is it okay to get fewer than 8 hours a night? And can you really make up for lost sleep?

The Stress Research Institute of the University of Stockholm and the Karolinska Institute of Sweden (one of the most prestigious centers in Europe in medicine, whose Nobel Assembly is responsible for deciding the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine) have completely debunked our common sleep myths.

The two institutions did a longitudinal study of 38,000 Swedish adults for 13 years, since 1997, in order to connect sleep hours with the mortality rate. The study also took into account factors such as sex, body mass index, smoker status, physical activity levels, and whether the individual worked in shifts.

Sleeping 5 hours or fewer inflicts a heavy price on the body

The first conclusion that scientists drew is that the highest mortality rate is found in individuals who sleep for five hours or fewer a day. Specifically the study, whose lead author is Torbjörn Åkerstedt, found that adults under 65 who sleep five or fewer hours per night have the highest mortality rate in 65 percent of cases.

Caring for the body is not optional. Each person is responsible for the body with which he or she has been created. We need to keep both soul and body in good condition until the end. How else can we be good instruments in God’s hands?

The eagerly awaited weekends

A second new aspect is that we can make up for lost sleep.

Up till now, many studies had told us this was not the case, but this study found that if we make up our sleep on the weekends, our mortality rate will be the same as if we had slept 7 to 8 hours a day.

The ideal is …

Here is the third major conclusion of the study: it is not those who sleep more than 8 hours who live longer, but rather those who sleep between 7 and 8 hours. So binge sleeping is not exactly healthy, either. As in everything, moderation is the key.

It may disappoint some of us slumber champions to learn that sleeping more than 8 hours a night increases our mortality rate by 25 percent compared to the people who sleep between 6 and 7 hours a day. But Åkerstedt explained that “prolonged sleep could be a sign of underlying problems.” So more is not necessarily better.

What about those over 65?

The study found that there is no pattern of sleep and mortality for those over 65. Torbjörn Åkerstedt believes that this is because these individuals are not subject to work schedules that determine their hours of rest.

So the moral of the story is … aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but if you have to stay up late now and then, don’t think those hours are gone forever. Just make them up on the weekend and know that your health will be just fine.


Read more:
A full night’s sleep: A parent’s impossible dream


Read more:
Good news for people who like to sleep in on the weekends

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.