Sleep Is One Of The Important Pillars Of Health And Lack Of Sleep Has Adverse Consequences For Human Health. But Is Too Much Sleep Bad And Does It Have Health Consequences?

Is Too Much Sleep Harmful?

Sleep Is One Of The Important Pillars Of Health, And Lack Of Sleep Has Adverse Consequences For Human Health. But Is Too Much Sleep Bad And Does It Have Health Consequences?

Quality sleep is related to general physical and mental health, but is too much sleep bad? According to a study published in the journal PLoS One, excessive sleep and lack of sleep have been linked to a higher risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, and obesity in adults over 45.

But why is sleep important? Theresa Schnorbach, an expert in clinical psychology and cognitive neuropsychology, tells LiveScience that sleep is vital for maintaining physical and mental health. He says: “Sleep is necessary to regulate the body’s metabolic and hormonal processes.”

Sleep also has a vital role in clearing toxins accumulated in the brain. In addition, it also strengthens the immune system and enables specialized immune cells to be more efficient in fighting infections.

Sleep also helps heal our emotional wounds. “During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which usually occurs about 90 minutes after the start of the sleep cycle, the concentration of noradrenaline, which is associated with stress and anxiety, decreases in the brain,” says Schnorbach. “Simultaneously, brain structures associated with memory and emotion are reactivated, helping us process traumatic memories or experiences.”

You can track your sleep with tools like fitness trackers or apps, but if you sleep too much, you’re likely to wake up tired and lethargic. The reason is that any significant deviation from the regular sleep pattern can disrupt the body’s internal rhythm and increase fatigue during the day.

How much sleep should you get at night?

Dr. Guy Meadows, clinical director and co-founder of the Sleep School program, says sleep is our natural way to rejuvenate, repair, and even detoxify the body and mind from the previous day’s efforts and stresses, preparing us for better performance. But how much sleep you need depends on your age, activity level, general health, and lifestyle; this number will change throughout your life.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, eight to 10 hours for teenagers, and 14 to 17 hours for infants. In times of stress or illness, you may need more sleep than usual.

“People often think we can train ourselves to need less sleep, but that’s not true,” says Meadows. Science says we can’t change how much sleep we need. Contrary to popular belief, older people do not need less sleep. Their sleep pattern and structure may vary, but their sleep needs remain the same.”

However, developing sleep-disrupting health problems, such as night pain or frequent trips to the toilet, make it more challenging to achieve uninterrupted sleep. According to Meadows, if you want to be mentally healthy, prioritize sleep and get enough sleep.

People with diabetes often experience fatigue due to high or low blood sugar levels, so they should get at least seven hours of sleep a night to help manage their disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says signs of poor sleep include not feeling refreshed even after a good night’s sleep, waking up frequently during the night, and experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders (such as snoring and difficulty breathing).

Can you oversleep?

When you sleep, your body repairs and regenerates itself, and similar to lack of sleep, too much sleep can lead to numerous health problems. “Sleep regulates our appetite hormones, which helps us manage a healthy weight,” says Meadows.

Research also shows that during sleep, the brain cleans the toxins accumulated during the day and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sleep also plays a vital role in maintaining blood glucose levels and, consequently, the risk of diabetes. “A good night’s sleep is therapeutic and helps us to wake up happier,” says Meadows. “Sleep also protects our brain’s prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for higher-level executive functions such as concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making.”

But can you sleep too much? Schnorbach says: “There are times when you may feel more sleepy than other times, like when your body is fighting off an illness, but in general, you can think of the relationship between sleep and health or performance as a U-shaped graph.” And there is a kind of golden ratio, and too little sleep and too much sleep are not recommended.”

When does oversleeping become a problem?

The right amount of sleep can be a little personal. Some people feel great after 7 hours of sleep, while others may need a little more.

According to the US National Sleep Foundation, oversleeping (also known as long sleep) is sleeping more than 9 hours. Most experts agree that sleeping more than 9 hours is too much for adults.

sleep disorders

“Excessive sleep is often associated with mental or physical disorders such as sleep apnea, depression, or side effects of medications, and effects that may be associated with excessive sleep such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and mental illness,” Schnorbach says Laiosanis.

Hypersomnia (as opposed to insomnia) is when you sleep a lot and feel very sleepy during the day. Sleep attacks (narcolepsy) and other sleep disorders usually cause hypersomnia. Meadows says:

Hypersomnia is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness that may make you feel like you should sleep more than you need yet still wake up tired. Hypersomnia can be both primary and secondary. Primary hypersomnia usually has no known cause. The cause of secondary hypersomnia can be disease, mental health problems, medications, sleep disorders, or lack of sleep due to shift work.

Brain dysfunction

According to the world’s most extensive sleep study published in the journal Sleep, too much sleep (more than eight hours) can damage the brain. Neuroscientists at the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute found that too much sleep can reduce the cognitive ability and reasoning skills.

Weight Gain

A study published in the journal Sleep showed that over six years, people who slept 9 to 10 hours a night were 21% more likely to be obese than those who slept 7 to 8 hours. The association between sleep duration and obesity remained even when the effects of food intake and exercise were considered.

Depression and mental health

Oversleeping is one of the possible symptoms of depression and anxiety and can worsen the situation. A study published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews found that depression rates were higher in those who slept longer.

Lifestyle factors

Have a healthy lifestyle that helps you sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep due to lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol consumption or certain prescription medications, your body will try to compensate by oversleeping. Studies have shown that too much sleep can contribute to increased inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of various diseases, from diabetes to Alzheimer’s. “Bad lifestyle habits that negatively affect sleep quality and duration include excessive caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and nicotine consumption, as well as lack of exercise,” says Meadows. Avoid drinking more than two to three caffeinated drinks daily and use herbal or caffeine-free alternatives at noon. Always be active and choose aerobic exercises such as walking, dancing, or jogging instead of weight training or jogging.

If you’re sleeping too much, Schnorbach says, look at your lifestyle to see if habits could affect your sleep quality and cause you to oversleep. “I recommend talking to your doctor about your condition because excessive sleep can be a symptom of mental or physical health issues,” she says.