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Extra hours in bed boost wellbeing

Extra hours in bed over the weekend could actually benefit your wellbeing, research has suggested.

A few more hours in bed could help busy workers recover from loss of sleep through the week.

Having a lie-in provides an antidote to the effects of sleep deprivation from Monday to Friday, tests on volunteers showed.

However, US researchers discovered that a couple of extra hours in bed might be insufficient.

For serious sleep loss, even 10 hours in bed may not be enough to cancel out the negative effects.

Study leader Dr David Dinges, who heads the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, said: "The additional hour or two of sleep in the morning after a period of chronic partial sleep loss has genuine benefits for continued recovery of behavioural alertness.

"The bottom line is that adequate recovery-sleep duration is important for coping with the effects of chronic sleep restriction on the brain."

Inadequate sleep is known to impair the ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system, and keep emotions in check.

When people lose sleep, their concentration drops and they suffer memory lapses. The brain falls into "rigid" thought patterns, making decision-making and problem-solving difficult. The effects can have a big impact on work performance, yet stress and long working hours frequently mean people in busy jobs get too little sleep during the week.

Experts say most people need between 7.5 and nine hours of sleep a night, although some get by on less and others require more.

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University of Pennslyvania School of Medicine