Too much ice cream can give you a stomachache (and pack on extra pounds). Too much alcohol can get you in all kinds of trouble. And yet too much exercise, while making you sore, is not as bad as the other examples. So where does sleep fit in? Is too much sleep bad for you? Or is it good?
Too much of a good thing can, at times, turn into something unpleasant. And it seems that this thought holds true for sleep. Granted, getting a good night of sleep is important for a host of reasons, and around 8 hours is preferable. Nevertheless, getting too much sleep or even oversleeping can set some individuals up for a number of health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and even an increase in death risk.
Research published in SLEEP demonstrated that for those individuals sleeping longer than 9 hours, there was a statistically significant difference in a higher incidence of life-threatening illnesses. This same study also confirmed what was previously known, too little sleep can cause the same issues. Another study found that older individuals who slept over 9 hours a night had a decline in brain function. The cognitive downslide was twice as much as individuals who had consistent or normal sleep patterns.
Hypersomnia: Too Much Sleep
Believe it or not, too much sleep on a regular basis can evolve into a true medical condition, known as hypersomnia (the direct opposite of insomnia) or sometimes even referred to as “sleep drunkenness.” For people who suffer with this disorder, they are extremely sleepy during the day, and taking naps does not help them to feel refreshed. Some of the other symptoms that people with hypersomnia experience are the following:
- Memory problems
- Decreased or low energy
- Constant need for sleep
- Wake up in the morning feeling groggy
With hypersomnia, it is important to rule out other sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This disorder is defined as pauses in breathing throughout the course of a night of sleep, which is caused by an obstruction in the sufferer’s airway. Some of the symptoms of OSA are similar to hypersomnia.
In addition, people who suffer from depression tend to sleep more hours than the norm, and alcohol and prescription drug abuse can cause someone to sleep to excess.
Like with most other aspects of life, everything is a delicate balance: diet, exercise and sleep. What is ideal for one person might not be the case for another. If you have trouble sleeping, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.