Hit the snooze button! Weekend lie-ins really could save your life as scientists say extra sleep can reduce the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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We all know that a weekend lie-in is the perfect treat after five days at work.

But research suggests that it does much more than simply recharge your batteries – it could actually save your life.

Scientists at China’s Nanjing Medical University tracked 3,400 people to monitor how sleep cycles affect health. 

They discovered that those who were sleep-deprived during the week but nabbed an extra two hours’ kip on a Saturday or Sunday were 63 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.

By contrast, workers who got less than six hours a night during the week and didn’t make up for it at the weekend had far higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

Scientists at China ‘s Nanjing Medical University tracked 3,400 people to monitor how sleep cycles affect health (file image)

Adequate sleep – between seven and eight hours a night for most people – is known to protect against heart problems. 

It reduces the effect of stress hormones on the body, keeping blood vessels free from inflammation. 

But the latest research suggests that getting by on less is not a problem – as long as you catch up on your days off.

However, a recent global survey showed people in Britain manage an average of just 15 minutes extra sleep at the weekend, while in Finland – where lie-ins are longest – it’s still only 26 minutes.

Previous studies have found snoozing an extra hour or two at weekends can ward off obesity and depression. 

But, say the Nanjing researchers, ‘Weekend catch-up sleep is [also] associated with a low risk of angina, stroke and heart disease – especially in those with short sleep durations during the week.

‘Research has shown sleep is not only for physiological rest but also has profound effects on cardiovascular health.’

ChinaFinland

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