Experts are always talking about how millions of people aren’t getting enough sleep these days, and how that’s impacting their health negatively.
But, did you know that sleeping too little is linked with many of the same health risks as sleeping too much?
Similar to people who sleep too little, people who sleep too much are in danger of health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and even cognitive problems like memory loss.
Sleep is vital for brain function, memory, and physical health. It’s during sleep that the brain processes all of the important information and signals from the day -- and when our bodies get the chance to repair itself, grow, and heal.
And yet, too little or too much sleep is a problem.
So, how much sleep is enough sleep?
Well, while the amount of sleep needed can vary from person to person, experts recommend that healthy adults gun for between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Of course, there are occasions where getting 10 hours or more of sleep is healthy [like after a hectic workweek or when dealing with jet lag]; but, if you’re regularly needing more than 9 hours of sleep to feel refreshed, then you’re probably sleeping too much, and this is a sign of an underlying problem.
What’s making people oversleep?
According to Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, “Oversleeping usually isn’t about needing more sleep – it’s usually about being exhausted because of some other physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual deficit.”
So, here are a couple of reasons people oversleep:
Unlike insomnia where a person has difficulty falling asleep, people with hypersomnia have trouble staying awake. They’re always feeling like taking a nap, and even after a nap – they still feel tired, leading to more naps.
Alcohol has a sedative effect that makes you feel drowsy and eventually fall into a deep slumber. However, this sleep tends to be poor quality, causing you to want to sleep some more until you feel fully rested.
People with health problems like depression experience both insomnia [difficulty falling asleep] and hypersomnia [difficulty waking up]. Usually, people who are depressed see sleep as a kind of escape, which over time causes an imbalance in their body clock.
Certain medications have side effects such as drowsiness. Particularly, prescription sleep pills often make you feel like catching more ZZZs beyond the recommended sleep time.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
People with OSA have difficulty breathing during sleep. While sleeping, the airway gets partially or completely blocked at short intervals, causing them to wake up several times in-between sleep.
What are the health risks associated with oversleeping?
People who oversleep are at risk of health conditions such as:
Because oversleeping is a low-calorie activity, it’s logical to assume that you’re not burning the calories from your day. Over time, this leads to weight gain.
When you’re sleeping too little or too much, the body’s ability to produce glucose drops, and this is closely associated with diabetes.
Movement and circulation are super important for healing and maintaining range of motion. Hence, if you’re sleeping too much, chances are you’d wake up feeling sore. Plus, sleeping longer on an old mattress or bad pillow could lead to back pain as well.
Thing is, oversleeping might be a symptom of heart disease - or sleeping longer than necessary could be aggravating the situation. A study of 72,000 women who slept more than 9 hours per night showed that they were 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease than ‘normal’ sleepers.
So, there you have it!
If you’re sleeping too much and need a hand getting out of bed in the morning, then you’re in luck. Click right here for our fun video on 5 tricks for getting up early in the morning.
Like to watch the video version of this wellness episode by Zuki? Great! Click right here and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Did you find this piece educative or perhaps you have a question or two for us? Tag us @nestednaturals and use hashtag #SleepWakeThrive -- we’d love to hear from you!