A new large Swedish study has found that sleeping in on weekends may help you to live longer. Past studies have found the opposite… that you don’t have a sleep bank and sleeping in after a week of inadequate sleep isn’t storing up rest for another fast-paced week.

The truth is somewhere in between. Ideally, you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. It’s important for heart and brain health, and for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. If you’re shorting yourself all week during the work week, that’s going to cause problems. On the other hand, getting sleep on weekends (according to the new study) is better than continuing a pattern of not enough.

Your brain performs important routine maintenance while you sleep, clearing away old, used chemicals so you can start over tomorrow. Not sleeping enough can really mess up this process, causing the brain to remove too much, and leading to memory loss and other cognitive problems. Even though it’s better to get enough sleep every night, if you’re not, it’s important to break the pattern of not sleeping enough to give your brain a chance to properly reset.

Here’s the biggest reason you should sleep in on weekends: your immune system. When we need a little more sleep, it’s our immune systems asking for a chance to really get to work. Past studies found that sleeping more than 9 hours lead to a shorter life for “other causes” of death, leading people to think too much sleep was bad. But further research revealed that was an indirect result of what was really happening: if you need extra sleep, your body is already fighting something!

If you’re tired, sleep. Sleep is important, and feeling tired is your brain and immune system begging for down time to do some maintenance. While it’s better to sleep well every night, give your body what you can on weekends. It’s a brain and an immune system boost.

Need help sleeping? If you’re short on sleep because you’re fighting insomnia, pick up our Sleep Support Pack for some natural help. It supplies your body with sleep supporting herbs and the minerals it uses up in maintenance mood to help get you to a better night’s rest.

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