The quest to get a good night's sleep has been a key pursuit of human beings since the beginning of time.

We all have our habits and routines that we believe are helping us achieve an abundance of blissful slumber, which will hopefully help us live healthier and longer lives.

Now, some new research is shedding some positive and negative light on two things a lot of us do to maximize our sleep experience.

Let's start with the good news.

According to Yahoo! Life, a team of researchers from Sweden, Italy, and the United States say that the notion of 'making up for lost sleep' by staying in bed longer on the weekends is actually saving lives.

They followed more than 43,000 people for 13 years, measuring their sleep patterns for the various days of the week. What they found is that grabbing some extra zzzzs on Saturdays and Sundays helps to offset the dangerous effects that a lack of sleep during the week has on our bodies.

The study revealed that sleeping five hours or less is associated with a 65 percent higher mortality rate than those who consistently slept six or seven hours. But, they say that extended hours in bed on the weekends will essentially offset the damage you do to your body during the week.

Now the bad news.

If you are one of those people who need some 'white noise' to help you optimize your time between the sheets, you might need to find a different way to help you drift off each night.

Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the United States, the University of Oxford in England, and the University of Basel in Switzerland, all concluded that all of that noise can actually lead to more disrupted sleep.

The main concern is that the noise actually causes our brains to race as they process the audio messages being generated by these machines or phone apps.

Still, think you can't sleep when it's too quiet? CNET recommends three alternatives to white noise, which creates one continuous frequency of sound:

  • Pink Noise: A mix of high and low frequencies, like the sound of rain or ocean waves.
  • Brown Noise: A deeper, more dampened version of pink noise, with even more bass tones and low-frequency, concentrated energy.
  • Blue Noise: Mainly high-frequency sounds with a few deep tones for balance.
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