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Is There Really Such A Thing As Too Much Sleep?

Whenever you read about what is and isn’t healthy with sleep the figure which always crops up is eight hours.

Whether we get the recommended eight hours per night or not, when it comes to the weekend, plenty of us like to enjoy a big lie in.

While we all see it as a bit of a treat and dream we could have one every day of the week, can there be too much of a good thing?

Well according to a whole host of evidence, yes it could. Oversleeping regularly has been linked to a number of things including depression, diabetes and heart disease.

 

Depression

Back in 2014 two studies found a link between consistently oversleeping the recommended amount and a person’s risk to depression.

The first study, conducted at the University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas took 1,788 same sex adult twin pairs and split them between two different sleeping patterns.

One half were monitored sleeping for the recommended hours, between 7-8.9 hours and result found they on average had a 27% heritability of depressive symptoms.

The other half were monitored as either having not enough sleep (fewer than seven) or having too much (over nine hours) with results showing increased heritability of depressed symptoms of 53% for short sleepers and 49% for longer sleepers.

The second study conducted by the university of Texas Health Science Centre and the Centres for Disease and Control in Vietnam looked into sleep duration and its link to depression in adolescents.

They took 4,175 11-17-year-old Houston locals who had their sleep and depressions levels monitored. They found that having six or less hours of sleep per night all wee round associated with an increased risk of depression.

Interestingly it found no link between depressive symptoms predicting a person to have sleep deprivation.

 

Diabetes

Researchers at Quebec’s Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine back in 2009 those who regularly sleep over 9 hours per night are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

More information on this research can be found here on Eurek Alert.

 

Heart Problems

It is much more well known that a lack of sleep can cause a number of health problems including those involving the heart, but in 2012 research from Chicago Medical School also proved this to be the case with over sleeping.

After analysing data from more that 3,000 people aged 45 and over, the study found that those who regularly had 8 or more hours per night were at an increased risk of heart problems including a stroke, congestive heart failure and a heart attack.

Leader of the study Dr. Rohit R. Arora said following the study that “based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep everyday probably confers the least risk of cardiovascular disease over the long term.”

 

Weight Gain

The same team who looked into how sleep affects diabetes in Quebec also looked into link between sleep and weight gain.

Over a six-year period they found that people who slept too little or slept too much gained more weight than those who had the recommended amount.

In fact, the results found that people who regularly had 9 or 10 hours per night were 25% more likely to gain 5 kilograms over the length of the study.

 

Earlier Death

Probably the most startling statistic amongst these to those of us who enjoy a few extra hours is that sleeping too much may lead to an earlier death.

2010 was a big year for this information, with 16 different studies around the world found that there is an increased risk of dying by any cause if you sleep too little or too much.

Sleeping over the recommended 8 hours was linked to having a 1.3 times higher risk of death from the 1,382,999 people who participated in the study.

 

Pregnancy Difficulties

A research team in Korea analysed the sleeping habits of 650 women who were currently undergoing IVF treatment. Similarly to other studies into sleep mentioned above, they separated their results into three categories, short term sleepers, average sleepers and long sleepers.

The results proved that the women who got the recommended sleep each night had a higher pregnancy rate (53%) than those who had 9 or more hours (43%).

While we all enjoy that blissful Saturday or Sunday morning lie in, by the evidence above it does seems as it if it’s a good thing we don’t get the chance to do the same all week around.

Remember the most important thing is to focus on getting the right amount of hours every night. If you feel you aren’t when consider changing your pillows, mattress, mattress topper or duvet because it could make the world of difference, and improve your health.

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