Sleep is important for your health!
Proper sleep helps you stay focused and alert during the day, and your body recharges at night to help recover from the day’s work. Also, proper sleep helps fight obesity, diabetes, heart disease and premature death, to name a few.
But this does not mean that you should spend hours upon hours sleeping. Quality sleep is crucial for your health, but even sleep in excess can be bad for you.
The National Sleep Foundation provides the following guidelines on how much sleep a person really needs on a daily basis at various ages.
Now, before you start calculating your total sleep time, you must know the reason behind your oversleeping. Excessive sleepiness can be a sign of several different medical issues, which include chronic fatigue, thyroid problems, heart disease, sleep apnea, depression, narcolepsy and certain medications.
It is important to enjoy sound and quality sleep, but getting too much sleep can lead to health risks.
Here are some of the bad things that can happen when you sleep too much.
1. May Develop Heart Problems
If you sleep a lot, your heart suffers. In fact, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
A 2003 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that both short and long self-reported sleep durations are independently associated with a modestly increased risk of coronary events.
A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology reports that long sleeping time increases the risk of development of an increased left ventricular mass. As the left ventricle of the heart becomes thicker, it increases the risk of heart failure.
A recent 2015 study published in Neurology found that while short sleep was associated with an 18 percent increased stroke risk, long sleep was associated with a 46 percent increase in stroke risk after adjusting for conventional cardiovascular disease risk factors.
2. Leads to Obesity
There is a connection between excess sleep and obesity. If you are sleeping for long hours, you are physically inactive for that period. Less physical activity means your body is burning less calories, which in turn can cause weight gain.
A 2008 study published in Sleep provides evidence that both short and long sleeping times predict an increased risk of future body weight and fat gain in adults. The study stressed the need to add sleep duration to the panel of determinants that contribute to weight gain and obesity.
A 2010 study published in Social Science & Medicine reports that more than 8 hours of sleep in a day is positively associated with the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
In a 2014 study published in PLOS ONE, researchers found that sleeping too much was associated with psychiatric diseases and higher body mass index (BMI), but not with other chronic medical diseases.
3. Increases Your Risk of Diabetes
Too much sleep can affect your body’s ability to process sugars, and impaired glucose tolerance means insulin resistance, a well-known risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, too much sleep means you are less physically active, which is important to reduce the risk of diabetes. Again, being more sedentary and obese are common risk factors for diabetes.
A 2009 study published in Sleep Medicine found that people who sleep too much or not enough are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. The risk is 2½ times higher for people who sleep less than 7 hours or more than 8 hours a night.
A 2013 study published in Diabetes Care reports that people who get more or less than between 6.5 and 7.4 hours of sleep per night are at increased risk for high blood glucose levels.
4. Makes You Depressed
While sleep disturbance is a common symptom of depression, it has been found that sleeping too much can affect your mood and even cause depression.
Sleep impacts neurotransmitters in the brain. Also, long sleep duration leads to reduced physical activity. More physical activity is important for increasing levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which can improve your mood.
Physical activity also helps distract you from stressful stimuli and improves your self-esteem.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that both short and long sleep duration – but not insomnia – are important predictors of chronic symptoms of depression and anxiety, independent of symptom severity. More research is needed to determine whether treating these sleep conditions results in more favorable outcomes.
5. Impairs Your Brain
Sleeping too much can also affect your brain power, as it causes the brain to age faster. Also, excessive sleep can be a marker of underlying circadian disruptions or health problems, which in turn can lead to structural brain changes and poor cognitive functioning.
A 2011 study published in Sleep found that short or long sleep duration was an important sleep-related factor independently associated with memory impairment and may be a useful marker for increased risk of cognitive impairment in older people.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association found that in older women, habitual sleep duration predicts the future risk for cognitive impairments including dementia, independent of vascular risk factors.
6. Leads to Early Death
Sleeping too much may even lead to an earlier death. Although it may sound scary, it is a fact and research has proved it.
In a 2010 review of 16 different studies, researchers report an increased risk of dying early among both short and long sleepers. Sleeping more than 8 hours a night was associated with a 1.3-times greater risk of death. The review was published in the journal Sleep.
Higher mortality risk can be due to the fact that sleeping too much is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, depression and obesity.
7. Causes Headaches
Sleeping too much can also give you headaches. This can happen due to fluctuations in neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin during sleep, which in turn may be a trigger for headaches.
Also, if you are waking up late in the morning, you are missing your normal breakfast or coffee time. In such cases, a headache may be related to caffeine withdrawal, low blood sugar or dehydration.
Furthermore, people who sleep too much during the day may suffer from a headache the next morning due to a disruption of nighttime sleep.
8. Leads to Back Pain
If you sit in the office for long hours and then go straight to bed and sleep until the late morning, chances are high that you may have back pain.
Sitting and sleeping most of the time reduces your activity level, which can be bad for your bones and muscles. This can make you achy, especially if you have back problems.
Lying in a position for an extended period of time and very little body movement during sleep can lead to elevated inflammation markers. This can cause more soreness and back pain.
Tips to enjoy quality sleep:
- Maintain a sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
- Create an ideal sleep environment to help you sleep soundly. This can be done by sleeping in a bedroom that is cool, dark and quiet.
- Use earplugs or a white-noise machine to avoid distractions.
- Do not keep a television, computer or phone in your bedroom.
- Do not drink coffee or alcohol too close to bedtime.
- Try meditation before going to bed.
- After having dinner, take a short walk and then go to bed.
- If you think you are sleeping more, maintain a sleep journal.
- Morning exposure to sunlight will help get you up and moving.
- Avoid hitting the snooze button on your alarm.
- Make your morning routine positive and consistent.