Could too much sleep be killing you?

Sleep. It’s a wonderful thing. But, as with all things in life, too much of a good thing can be harmful. So, what happens when you sleep too much?

Yes, sleep is essential for good health, although oversleeping is linked to a number of medical problems, such as diabetes, depression and increased risk of death.

So, how much sleep is too much?

The amount of sleep we need varies with age. It’s also dependant on how much physical activity you engage in each day, as well as your lifestyle habits and general wellbeing. Some people with poor health or low energy will sleep more, and those who suffer from depression may also spend longer asleep. Some medication or overuse of alcohol will also lead to longer hours in the sack. However, as a general rule of thumb, adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

If you sleep more than nine hours per night, you may be at risk of the following health problems:

Diabetes
This can be caused by sleeping too much or too little.

Obesity
A recent study has shown that if you sleep for more than nine or 10 hours a night, you’re 21 per cent more likely to become obese.

Headaches
Experts say that oversleeping has a negative effect on your neurotransmitters which, in turn, messes with your serotonin levels and causes headaches.

Back pain
The days of being told to hit the hay when you have a bad back are well behind us. If you experience back pain, as much as you may be loath to do so, it’s better for you to keep moving as much as possible.

Depression
Lack of sleep is linked to depression more so than oversleeping, but studies show that around 15 per cent people with depression sleep too much, which can make the symptoms much worse. Regular sleep habits are integral to the healing process.

Heart disease
A study of almost 72,000 women revealed that those who slept nine to 11 hours a night were 38 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than those who slept eight hours.

Death
Many studies have revealed that people who sleep more than nine or 10 hours per night have a much higher risk of dying than those who sleep the recommended seven to eight hours. Although, there is a correlation between people of lower socio-economic status and longer sleep, which could play a part in these results.

If you sleep for more than seven or eight hours a night, it may be time to speak to your doctor. Unless, of course, you know the reasons for your oversleeping, such as medication, recreational drug or alcohol use.

Good sleep hygiene is essential for getting your recommended dose of z’s, as well as regular exercise and laying off the caffeine and sweets late in the day.

Read more at WebMD.

Do you sleep more than seven or eight hours per night? Do you feel as if it affects your daily activities?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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