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Researchers from the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University examined over 38,000 people from 1997 to 2010.

The team then tracked the participants for up to 13 years, using the country's national death register, and controlled for factors that can contribute to health or mortality risk, such as gender, body mass index and smoking. Also, too much sleep can be a problem, the study says, because those who get over eight hours of sleep every day of the week actually have a higher mortality risk than those who just average between six to seven hours.

The researchers wrote: "The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep".

A study of almost 40,000 people by Sweden's Karolinska Institute found that adults under the age of 65 who slept fewer than five hours per night on average were significantly less healthy than those who got between five and eight hours.

"If you're sleep-deprived, it is probably better to try and fall asleep earlier than get up later", she said, adding: "Although our social commitments at the weekend tend to prevent us from doing this".

He told Popular Science that his study is important because "previous work hasn't considered weekend sleep".

However, research has often overlooked what happens on your days off, said sleep researcher Torbjörn Åkerstedt, co-author of a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

Sleeping in on weekends to catch up on missed sleep over a long and tiring work week does not only feel fantastic, but it also may help you live longer.

The study also found that the link between sleep patterns and mortality disappeared for those aged 65 or older.

Many people complain they do not get enough sleep, and it seems they are right to be concerned.

Having said that, the study also found that it is possible to catch up on sleep with an extended lie-in in the weekend, reports the Guardian.

As a night owl, I know what it's like to struggle with the strict schedules society has set for us.

It suggests over 65s need seven to eight hours sleep a day, while 18 - 65 year olds need seven to nine hours a day.

Sleep is something you need to replenish regularly if you don't want to hurt your health.