A weekend lie-in almost halves the risk of depression, study finds

·2-min read
Researchers have found that getting an extra couple of hours' sleep on Saturday and Sunday could boost mental health. (Getty Images)
Researchers have found that getting an extra couple of hours' sleep on Saturday and Sunday could boost mental health. (Getty Images)

If you often feel guilty about shunning your alarm at the weekend in favour of a bit of extra sleep, don't be.

A study has shown that a weekend lie-in can help dramatically reduce the likelihood of depression.

In fact, the research, by Yonsei University in South Korea, found that snoozing-in on Saturday and Sunday almost halves your risk.

After analysing around 5,500 people, the scientists discovered that getting an extra couple of hours meant people were 48% less likely to be diagnosed with the mental health condition.

Read more: Sleep loss adds up to seven years to a new mother's 'biological age', study suggests

Similarly, the results – published in the journal Sleep Medicine – revealed that those who got an extra hour of shut-eye at the weekend lowered their risk by a third.

However, the researchers found that the mood-boosting benefits only materialise if you limit yourself to no more than an extra couple of hours than what you'd regularly get in the week.

They discovered that those who indulged in more additional sleep than this saw their chances of depression actually increase by 16 per cent – indicating there is a lie-in sweet spot.

Official data showed that a fifth of adults experienced symptoms of the mental health condition during the pandemic. 

Read more: Exercise may counteract health harms of too little sleep

According to the NHS, most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep a night.

They also recommend that people try and go to bed and wake up at similar times each day.

A previous study found that getting five hours or less of sleep each night doubles your risk of developing dementia.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analysed the sleeping habits of 2,812 participants.

While the exact reason isn't known, it is thought that a lack of shut-eye might stop the brain from clearing out toxins that contribute to a decline in cognitive function.

Watch: How many hours should you sleep?

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