Oversleeping: The Effects & Health Risks of Sleeping Too Much

pocket watch, watch, timepiece

We often hear about the real dangers of getting too little sleep, but on the other end of the spectrum, sleeping too much also appears to have some risks. Sleep is a rapidly growing field of research, and we are learning more all the time about how rest affects the body and mind. It’s known that sleep is a time when the body repairs and restores itself, and getting too little rest can lead to a whole host of health problems.

So, more sleep must be better right? Not so fast, say some researchers. More evidence is showing that spending an excessive amount of time in bed is also linked with health hazards. In some ways, oversleeping itself appears to directly influence certain risk factors, and in other cases, it may be a symptom of other medical conditions.

Read on to learn about the effects of oversleeping, what to look out for and how to work towards getting healthy, quality slumber.

Are You Sleeping Too Much?

woman, asleep, girl

First, let’s address what oversleeping means. The gold standard of normal has long been considered eight hours, and it’s a good median benchmark. Recent reviews of current research from the experts at the National Sleep Foundation broaden the spectrum a little. They say that somewhere in the range of seven to nine hours is normal and healthy for most adults between 18 and 64 years of age.

Some say closer to seven hours could be even better, “The lowest mortality and morbidity is with seven hours.” Other researchers have also linked seven hours of rest with things like longevity and better brain health.

The “right” amount of sleep proves somewhat individual as some people will feel great on seven hours and others may need a little longer. However, in most studies and for most experts, over nine hours is considered an excessive or long amount of sleep for adults.

If you sleep in a little sometimes on the weekends, it’s likely no big deal. If you regularly sleep more than nine hours each night or don’t feel well-rested on less than that, then it may be worth taking a closer look. It’s estimated that about 2% of population are naturally long sleepers (typically since childhood), but long sleep can also coincide with health issues and other treatable factors.

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