Oversleeping: Is Too Much Sleep Bad for Health?
Sleeping in is a dream come true for most overworked adults – the feeling of not setting an alarm the night before and waking up only when your body is ready to is just pure bliss. However, too much of anything can be a bad thing and sleep is no exception. Let’s look at some of the ways you can be affected if you sleep too much, and how we can reverse them.
What is Oversleeping?
The universal gold standard of normal sleeping hours has long been considered eight hours. Many studies over the years have shown that a healthy adult should get between seven to nine hours of good quality sleep to be able to function well. While it can vary among individuals, most experts agree that anything over nine hours of sleep is considered excessive.
Sleeping in a little over the weekends is no big deal. However, if you’re regularly sleeping more than nine hours and don’t feel rested on less than that, then it might be a cause for worry.
Poor sleep quality can be caused by multiple factors, from environmental (not having an ideal bedroom for good sleep etc.) to medical (other health conditions like depression, pain and sleep disorders etc.). When you’re not getting enough restorative sleep, your body will try to prolong your sleep period to do so. This however can have adverse effects on your health in the long run.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
The Nurses’ Health Study has shown that getting too much sleep on a regular basis can increase the risk of heart disease, with women who slept nine to 11 hours were 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease than women who slept eight hours. While researchers have not been able to agree on a reason for this connection between oversleeping and heart disease, some say that the indirect effect of poor sleep health, diet choices and genetics can have a part to play in boosting inflammation in the body, which is also associated with cardiovascular disease.
Slowing down of Cognitive Performance
Feeling lethargic and foggy when you oversleep is a sign of the slowing down of your cognitive performance. When you have poor sleep health, your key cognitive functions such as memory, identifying patterns, reaction time, decision making skills and speech ability can be negatively impacted.
Mental Health Decline
The relationship between sleep health and mental health can sometimes be a chicken-and-egg situation – which came first, poor sleep or depression? Which one caused which? Studies have shown that both can be a symptom of each other, where oversleeping is seen as possible symptom of depression and depression being a major factor in poor sleep health. However, the fact still remains that getting more than the recommended number of hours of sleep can worse depression and anxiety symptoms in the long run.
How to Fix Oversleeping?
If you find yourself recognising the symptoms, don’t worry! There are still ways for you to fix it and improve your health.
One way to do so is to cultivate healthy sleep habits. As we always say, the key to getting a good night’s sleep start from the day before. Starting your day right with good habits can help you settle into a healthy routine. Designing a comfortable night-time ritual that enables your mind and body to get into the mood to sleep is another way to ensure that you’re getting the right amount and quality of sleep. On top of keeping an eye on your habits, you should also ensure that you have a good environment for getting quality sleep. Take a step-by-step approach to designing your bedroom for good sleep so that you can identify which factor you need change.
It’s important to listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something. Living in discomfort and pain is not the norm and shouldn’t be seen as a point to brag about – especially when it comes to sleep health. Take the first step in seeing your doctor about your symptoms and slowly work towards improving your overall well-being.