Yes, believe it or not but there is such a thing as sleeping too much and it actually isn’t good for you. In fact, it is thought to be linked to the same disorders that people with not enough sleep experience such as diabetes, heart disease, risk of death. Depression and coginitive impairment are other risks of sleeping too much.
What is sleeping too much?
The amount you need to sleep will vary depending on age, genetics, lifestyle. Although 7 hours is usually a guide, sleeping too much is going beyond that. Occasional levels of increased sleep is fine such as if you have had a busy week and need an extra lie in on the weekend. Too much sleep is also medically known as hypersomnia.
How do you know if you are sleeping too much?
· Extended sleep hours
· Struggling to wake up in the morning and sleeping through alarms
· Not wanting to get out of bed to start your day
· Grogginess on and off during the day with no amount of caffeine helping
· Not being able to concentrate
Even though lack of sleep or insomnia is commonly linked to depression, sleeping too much can also be linked to depression. It has been said in studies that about 15%of the people with depression sleep more.
Another study of older adults found that mental health of those that slept more than 10 hours was worse than those that didn’t.
Cognition, memory problems, degenerative disease
Studies have found that memory impairments and decreased cognitive function is linked with longer sleep.
Other research has gone as far as saying that a lot of sleep could be tied to Alzheimer’s although research related to Alzheimer’s is continuing and nothing conclusive is available yet.
Obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes
They say a good night’s sleep is what you need to help you lose weight, but there are studies out that that show those that slept for 9 or 10 hours for 6 years every night were 21% more likely be obese compared to those who slept between 7-8. This is after factoring in food.
In fact even your glucose tolerance can be impaired which is associated with insulin resistance and risk factor for Type 2 diabetes according to a Canadian study. The study which was carried out over 6 years on 276 people identified this to be the case for those that sleep too long or not enough.
I am sure you have that friend who would tell you that sleeping too much gives them a headache. Turns out this may be due to the effect it has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. Naps during the day which then impact the quality of sleep at night could do the same.
A study conducted on nearly 72,000 women, called the Nurses’ Health study found that women sleeping 9-11 hours were 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease than those that weren’t. The exact reason for this have not been identified yet.
However the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NAHNES), researchers also found that there was a link between linked both short and long sleep with a higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Threat to life
This may sound morbid and the exact reasons are not known but there is a high correlation between those that sleep 9 or more hours than those with 7-8 hours according to lots of studies. This may be due to a combination of depression and low socio-economic status according to researchers where these individuals are more exposed to stress and anxiety than those not exposed to similar life issues.
Sleeping too much is not as good for you as you may think, even though many say they need their beauty sleep which is often defined as extra sleep to maintain a healthy attractive appearance, the right balance needs to be found, not too much and not too little. Research does indicate that 7-8 hours seems to be the right balance for most.
Important Note: If you find yourself affected by sleep, have depressive symptoms then please speak to your doctor and seek help.