Is Oversleeping Bad For Your Health? 5 Reasons You Need Less Shut-Eye, According To Science
Sometimes, you just can't help sleeping in. It could be because you've had a late one the night before, or simply because you have nothing better to do. Either way, sleeping for more than the recommended eight hours per night may actually be doing you more harm than good as, contrary to what you might think, several studies have concluded that oversleeping is bad for your health.
The reason this has all popped up again in the news is down to a new study which claims that oversleeping could lead to a premature death. Pretty morbid but more on that later. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged between 18 and 64 should sleep for between seven to nine hours a night. This decreases once you hit 65 to no more than eight hours every night.
There will be occasional times in which you oversleep. But sleeping for around ten hours on a regular basis can result in some detrimental physical and behavioural changes. This is all down to sleep affecting the body's circadian rhythm which is a 24-hour cycle that determines the sleeping, feeding and general living patterns of all living things.
When you sleep for too long (or too little), your body struggles to get back in sync, resulting in you doing things like eating at different times and then repeating the whole process all over again. After a while, it's inevitable that you'll start to feel the effects.
If you're a lover of your bed or like a good old nap every now and then, here are a few things to be aware of.
1. An Early Death
Here's where that new study comes in. Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it surveyed data from 74 separate studies that in total had examined more than 3 million people. Researchers found that people who were sleeping for 10 hours a night were 30 percent more likely to die at an early age. Specifically, oversleepers had a 49 percent increased chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 56 percent increased risk of passing away from stroke. Positive vibes.
2. More Likely To Get Diabetes
Although oversleeping is a symptom of diabetes, the problem can also increase your chance of getting the disease. A 2013 study published in Diabetes Care found that sleeping for more than seven hours a night could make you more likely to have high blood glucose levels which can, in turn, lead to type 2 diabetes.
3. Weight Gain
Another study — carried out in 2008 and published in Sleep — concluded that there was a link between oversleeping and weight gain. Researchers studied people over a six year period, finding that people who slept more than nine hours a night were 21 percent more likely to become obese than those with a more "norma" sleeping pattern.
4. Intense Headaches
If you're prone to suffering from headaches, sleeping in won't help matters. I can personally attest to this one. I get migraines pretty regularly and sleeping for 12 hours (as I sometimes do) makes my head feel fuzzy all day. There's a study to back this statement up too. Researchers coined the term "weekend headache" in a 1999 issue of the Headache journal to describe the symptom that some people get from sleeping in. While the study's authors believe the concept needs more examining, they did conclude that oversleeping could trigger migraines and other headache types.
5. Fertility Issues
You may be far from wanting to start a family right now but the way that you sleep could be impairing your fertility, according to scientists. A study of 650 Korean women in 2013 found that the chances of conceiving decreased by around 10 percent for those sleeping more than nine hours a night. Researchers believe that this is due to that pesky circadian rhythm again. When the cycle is affected, hormones can be impacted too, potentially causing fertility problems. Again, more research needs to be undertaken to make any conclusive statements but it's still something to take into account.
Some of these things may not affect you until you're an OAP but it's worth considering how much you're sleeping and maybe making some changes. Prevention is better than cure after all.