There is a vast amount of research that indicates skimping on sleep can negatively affect your health in numerous ways. What scientists are also discovering is that oversleeping may also hinder efforts to lead a healthy and happy life. Understanding the root causes of sleeping too much and the hazards of oversleeping can help you to make smarter decisions about the amount of sleep to aim for each night.
Ill Effects of Sleeping Too Much
The occasional night of getting too much sleep is not going to cause significant harm to your health. Sometimes the body simply needs to catch up on a sleep deficit. However, chronic oversleeping can lead to a variety of negative health repercussions, affecting both your physical and mental well-being.
Here are a few of the most common negative effects of sleeping too much.
Reduced Mental Performance
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, too much sleep can age your brain by up to two years. This accelerated aging may make it more challenging to perform normal tasks. For example, too much sleep may lead to a foggy brain and memory issues.
Excess Weight Gain
Excess weight gain is also associated with too much sleep. One of the reasons for this link is that those who are sleep too much are also not exercising as they should. The less that you are moving your body, the more likely you will be to put on excess weight.
Higher Risk of Developing Heart Disease
As heart disease is the number one killer in the US, it is important to do everything that you can to stave off its development. Sleeping more than eight hours per night boosts your risk of dying from heart disease by a significant 34 percent.
Increased Prevalence of Emotional Health Issues
It is not a stretch to see that sleeping too much may contribute to depression or anxiety. It can be difficult to break the cycle of depression and excess sleep, making it important to stay on top of this issue.
Boost in Mortality Risks
All of these problems associated with too much sleep can lead to a higher mortality rate. Studies have demonstrated that people who sleep too much are also more likely to die prematurely.
Higher Rates of Diabetes
Too much sleep can increase blood sugar levels in the body, leading to an increase in developing type 2 diabetes.
What is the Ideal Sleep Time?
While the sleep needs of an individual can vary based on a number of factors, there is a widely accepted golden zone of rest that is suitable for most people. It is also important to note that sleep needs vary as you age. Clearly, younger children need more sleep than adults. Seniors tend to require slightly less sleep than other adults. For most adults age 18-64, the ideal amount of sleep falls in the seven-to-nine hours per night range. Striving to reach this goal each night will result in optimal health and help you to avoid the hazards of oversleeping.
Causes of Sleeping Too Much
There are a number of factors that may leading to the habit of sleeping too much.
Sleep Cycle Disruptions
In its simplest terms, excessive sleeping is the result of sleep cycle disruptions. If you are not going through an adequate number of full sleep cycles each night, you may feel sleepier during the day and need to rest more. Disruptions to the sleep cycle can be caused by a poor sleeping environment, too much alcohol or caffeine consumption prior to bedtime and restless leg syndrome.
It is not unusual for an underactive thyroid to cause you to feel sleepy. Symptoms of this condition include chills, muscle weakness and unexplained weight gain.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition characterized by a momentary halt in breathing while asleep. These episodes generally occur multiple times throughout the night, causing major disruptions to the sleep cycle.
There is a definitive bidirectional relationship between sleep and depression. This means that while many sleep disorders are a risk factor for developing depression, you are also more likely to sleep too much if you are already depressed.
Many of today’s most commonly prescribed medications can lead to excessive drowsiness. If your regular medication is making you sleepy, you can talk to your doctor about adjusting the dosage to avoid this issue.
The dangers of sleeping too much go far beyond a foggy brain. Getting to the root cause of these sleep issues can help you to make more informed decisions about your sleeping habits so that you are more intentional about getting the optimal amount of rest each night. As with any health issue, it is vital that you seek professional medical attention if you are concerned.