In recent weeks we’ve covered techniques on how to sleep better and get a good night’s rest. In this article, we’ll talk about the flip side of that coin. Studies are finding that getting too much sleep, can be every bit as hazardous as not getting enough.
First, let’s talk about how much sleep is enough sleep and how much you should optimally be getting. While this differs depending on the person, each situation and the amount of sleep you need throughout your life will change according to your age, level of physical activity, health and personal physiological differences. Typically, experts recommend somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Your own optimal level may differ but should be very close to this.
So, what’s wrong with sleeping too much? As it turns out, quite a bit. First, there are the some physical side effects. People who often sleep more than this 7 to 9 hour window can suffer an increased risk of diabetes since many regulatory neurotransmitters are affected by this lack of activity. They are also more likely suffer from obesity, again stemming from lack of activity.
Many also experience headaches, back pain from lack of spinal movement and decreased flexibility. Finally, sleeping too much increases the risk of heart disease as well as an increased death rate in people who sleep more than 9 hours a night. It turns out our bodies need a healthy amount of activity as well as a limited amount of rest.
Psychologically speaking, sleeping too much has been known to cause depression, listlessness, and decreased memory. Over the long term, oversleeping can have the same side effects as sleep deprivation. Oversleeping can also cause anxiety and a feeling of being drained, or not having enough energy and being drowsy during the day, eventually effecting cognitive function as much as being intoxicated does. Sleeping too much may also be a sign of an underlying health or psychological issue, so if you suffer from this, it may be a good idea to consult your physician.
So, as we’ve found, while good rest is necessary to maintain physical and psychological health, regulating it is also necessary, lest we suffer many other problems. So, make sure you get a good night’s sleep, just not too good of one. In other words, make sure your forty winks don’t turn into eighty.
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