This Is Why Oversleeping Is As Bad As Undersleeping

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Can you have too much of a good thing when it comes to sleep? Few people know this, but oversleeping can be just as bad as undersleeping. While a proper amount of sleep is necessary for the body and mind to function at their best, oversleeping has been linked to several health issues, just as undersleeping has. Let’s take a look at the risks, and how much sleep is too much to have.

The Risks

  • Diabetes: Studies show that both oversleeping and undersleeping can lead to an increased risk of diabetes. (1)
  • Obesity: A recent study showed that adults who sleep over 9-10 hours are 21% more likely to struggle with obesity.  (2)
  • Back Pain: While in the past doctors recommended bed rest for people struggling with back pain, nowadays it is much more common to recommend exercises such as yoga to strengthen the muscles that support the spine to prevent back pain. Oversleeping can weaken your back muscles. 
  • Heart disease: A careful study on 72,000 women showed that women who oversleep are 38% more likely to develop heart disease than women who sleep for 8 hours a night.  (3)
  • Increased risk of death: While no specific reason for this correlation has been discovered, a significantly higher death rate has been noticed for people who oversleep chronically.  (4)

What Are The Causes of Oversleeping?

There are a few possible causes of hypersomnia. One is depression. Depression is a common mood disorder in which sleep patterns can often be disrupted.  Depression symptoms include feeling despondent, and less happy than usual for an extended period of time. You may not enjoy things that you liked before.  It can also be accompanied by disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns, which can be dangerous to your health. 

Some people with hypersomnia struggle with chronic fatigue, that makes you drowsy much more often than the average person. Another common cause of oversleeping is as a side effect of some medications.

Another medical condition that causes oversleeping is called sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is obstructed during sleep, causing you to wake up in the night and thus disrupting sleep cycles.  It can make you feel more tired than usual, and thereby lead to oversleeping.

How Much Sleep Is Too Much?

The average adult needs 7-9 hours of quality sleep depending on their level of activity, stress, and the presence of illness in their life.

Hypersomnia occurs when an adult is getting more than 10-12 hours of sleep a night.  At this point, oversleeping becomes a verified medical condition.

The amount of sleep you need depends on the stage you are in during your life.  For example, infants need much more sleep than grown adults and the elderly need less sleep. 

The hours of sleep you need also depends on your lifestyle as well such as If you lead a very active lifestyle, your body needs more rest to recuperate from exercise. 

Additionally, if you are going through a time of stress, your body will require more sleep to recover from the toll on your mental faculties. You also need more sleep if you are sick or have a chronic illness.  Sleep helps the body’s immune system, but too much sleep is a risk factor. 

Sleep is essential to your body’s health, so make sure you are getting the right amount — not too much, and not too little, to avoid health risks.

Carly Fraser has her BSc (Hons.) Degree in Neuroscience, and is the owner and founder at Live Love Fruit. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with a determined life mission to help inspire and motivate individuals to critically think about what they put in their bodies and to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle. She has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals to re-connect with their bodies and learn self-love through proper eating habits and natural living. She loves to do yoga, dance, and immerse herself in nature.

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