The study, which included nearly 44,000 participants, concluded that "short weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects less than 65 years old".
But it found that those who didn't get enough sleep during the week then managed to catch up with a longer snooze at weekends didn't have the same higher risk of mortality as those who consistently go without enough sleep.
"Apparently, sleeping in in on the weekends can be a real help", said Åkerstedt, a professor and director of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University. A survey of their sleep habits over that time found that people under 65 who slept less than five hours every night had a mortality rate 65 percent higher than people sleeping at least six hours a night. It found that people who regularly slept about five hours or less a night, including on weekends, saw a higher mortality rate - the likelihood of death during the study period - compared with those who regularly got seven hours.
Many people complain they do not get enough sleep, and it seems they are right to be concerned. Researchers looked at the sleep data from about 44,000 Swedish adults collected in 1997 and followed up with the participants 13 years later.
Ironically, lack of sleep can also lead to insomnia, where people find it hard to fall asleep and wake up during the night.
Staying in the position for 10 minutes helps to calm down your mind, and prepare you for a restful night's sleep, she said.
"We also note that the the older participants are "well rested" when they wake up, whereas the younger are definitely not 'well rested.' Our interpretation is that sleep need is reduced with increasing age". Across the week, older people had more consistent and more often sleep over a shorter time span. Stuart Peirson, an expert in the human body clock who was not involved in the research, told The Guardian it "fits with what we do know about sleep", offering a more nuanced view on how much sleep we need to get.
Scientists have long known about the connection between how much you sleep and how long you live.
"Being an inactive "couch potato" is not good for you", Siegel said in an email to TIME.