A lot of us struggle to find enough sleeping time. But did you know that having too much sleep is also bad for you? You are, therefore, left in a fix and even perplexed on what to do. Perhaps you had already planned to indulge in a long sleep over the weekend to compensate for the sleep deprivation during the week. You are now left wondering whether you should do as earlier planned.
Spending little or too much sleeping time has been proven to be detrimental to your overall health as it leads to an array of health conditions. Fortunately, research has also found a sweet spot that is neither too much nor too little to impact your health.
The sweet spot aside, why should we not sleep for neither too short nor too long? Here are the reasons. Since humans spend almost a third of their lives asleep, it is good to understand this biological need as well as how it impacts on our systems.
Why We Should Not Sleep Too Much
In comparison to little sleep, the negative impacts of too much sleep aren’t well documented, well at least until now. But how much sleep is too much or little? What is clear though, is the recommended number of sleeping hours.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, an adult is supposed to get an average of between 7 and 9 sleeping hours. What do you do in case your body still craves for more sleep? Based on the available research, some individuals get between 9 and 10 hours but still function normally.
All in all, long sleepers are still at a huge risk of certain health problems. These include:
1.Long Sleeping Increases the Likelihood of Stroke and Heart Attack
Often, long sleeping is linked to an underlying problem that requires you to sleep for long. On itself, it is not harmful, unless combined with a pre-existing condition. One of the concerning reasons why we should resist the temptation of the comforting Shredded Memory foam pillow is the high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Research conducted by the Chicago School of Medicine shows that people who usually sleep for over 8 hours every night are susceptible to cardiovascular conditions. These long sleepers have twice as much chance of developing chain pain. Also, they are 10 percent more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than normal sleepers.
A separate study by a group of nurses found an even larger risk. The study concludes that the risk of heart disease is larger in this category of sleepers. In fact, they have a 38 percent chance of contracting heart diseases.
On the other hand, chances of stroke are even higher based on a study conducted in the United Kingdom. This study shows that 46 percent of long sleepers are likely to have a stroke at some point, even after factoring other risk factors.
2.You Could Be Having Poor Sleeping Habits
A possible explanation for your long sleeping tendencies could be a health condition that has not been detected. It is these conditions that are likely to be derailing your sleeping health. Patients with sleep apnea that hasn’t been treated are also likely to sleep for long.
People with this condition do oversleep due to the accompanying breathing problems. If left untreated or undiagnosed for a long time, sleep apnea causes either stroke or heart disease. Therefore, if you are an over-sleeper, you might want to be examined for this condition.
Apart from sleep apnea, possible reasons for your sleep exuberance could be hot flashes or stomach upsets. Alternatively, there is the likelihood that your sleeping environment is either not quiet or dark enough for sleep or both.
Teeth grinding could also lead to sleep quality. Since you do not sleep well, when you do get the chance to sleep, then your body opts to compensate for the missed sleeping periods. Nonetheless, if you feel sleepy even after sleeping for over 9 hours straight, you should visit a doctor to rule out these possible conditions.
3.We Are Likely to Put Up More Weight and Become Diabetic
Becoming obese is a possible eventuality if you oversleep every night. Actually, weight gain and long sleep is a case of chicken or an egg scenario, where one could be the cause of the other. As people get more obese, they incline to be long sleepers.
Conversely, if you are a long sleeper, then it is more probable that you would become obese. Spending more time in bed means that you are continuously burning lesser amounts of calories since you aren’t exercising much. As a result, your body’s fat content will increase over time.
A Canadian study carried out over a 6-year period found out that long sleepers have 25 percent chance of putting up about 5 kilograms of weight within this period. In the same time period, obesity risks increased by 21 percent for the same study subjects.
Since there is a link between long sleep and obesity, diabetes is also common. Regardless of one’s body mass, long sleepers still have twice the risks of becoming diabetic in comparison to short and normal sleepers.
4.Headaches and Depression Become the Norm
I think you already know this feeling. After spending a long time in bed, you wake up with a headache or feeling groggy, like someone with a hangover. These two are often caused by having too little or too much sleeping time.
A fluctuation in the levels of neurotransmitters is one of the possible explanations for this feeling of a headache. Also, sleeping past your usual caffeine, sugar or water intake time in the morning leads to cases of caffeine withdrawals.
Establishing sleeping patterns while getting consistent amounts of sleep helps alleviate your withdrawals or transmitter fluctuations. One of the usual symptoms of depression is having oversleeping tendencies.
Therefore, if you have a hard time getting up, you could be having untreated mental health issues.
5.Foggy Brain and Jet Lag
It is common to have a foggy brain after having too much of snooze time. There is a Harvard University study that links hampered cognitive in elderly women who sleep for more than 9 hours straight every night to sleeping too long. The impaired brain capacity has an equivalence of a 2 year aging period.
Oversleeping and under-sleeping often mark an underlying circadian disruption and structural brain damage. Sleeping for long has the same effect as being on a long plane trip. Extended sleeping hours throws off the body’s circadian rhythms that explain the jet lag effect.
An internal clock within the brain controls body functions in response to dark and light signals. Oversleeping shifts the light signals received by the brain, which then puts us at conflict with a regular rhythm.
Why We Shouldn’t Have Little Sleeping Time
Sometimes, even the allure of a foam mattress topper isn’t enough to lure you to bed. The effects of having too little sleeping time are well known. Essentially, they are the same as those of sleeping for long, with minor differences. Here are some of the notable differences in sleeping effects.
Coordination, Judgement, and Memory Impairment
After missing sleep for 24 hours straight, these effects become noticeable in an individual. The symptoms beat a close resemblance to someone with an alcohol percentage of about 0.10 in the body.
The deprived individual becomes less attentive, has poor hearing capabilities, becomes more emotional than before, and decision-making deteriorates. As a result, you are more likely to die from a fatal accident if you drive.
Deteriorating Physical Health
Having little or no sleep after a 36-hour time period increases the levels of our inflammatory markers. Your emotions become all over the place, blood pressure rises, and risks of cardiovascular diseases become apparent, just like an over-sleeper.
After 48 Hours Disorientation and Body Shuts Downs Begin
Going 2 days without sleep normally forces the body to take measures to grasp the much-needed sleep. The body temporarily shuts to get micro-sleeps, which lasts for a couple of seconds or minutes. Afterward, a disorientation period follows that bears a close resemblance to blackouts.
If you continue without sleep for 72 hours, then cognitive deficits occur. You also start to experience hallucinations as you are unable to create perceptions, concentrate, and mental processing incapability steps in.
How Long Can We Go without Sleep?
The longest ever recorded time for going without sleep is 264 hours, translating to slightly over 11 consecutive days without sleep. The maximum period beyond which you cannot survive without needing sleep has not been determined yet.
However, it won’t be too long before you start to show the effects of sleep deprivation. Getting little sleep for between three to four consecutive nights normally triggers the effects of sleep deprivation such as irritability, hallucination, impaired cognitive capabilities, delusion, psychosis, and paranoia.
The Bottom Line
It is still not apparent how long a human being can survive without needing sleep. At the same time, the exact amount of sleeping hours deemed as excessive are also not clear. Also, gender plays a critical role in determining the required amount of sleep one needs.
While pulling off an all-nighter a couple of times in a month won’t do you any harm, so does having a sleep indulgence once in a while. The effects only happen if deprivation and excesses frequently happen, either intentionally or as a result of another problem.
Either way, talk to a doctor to figure out a way of getting your sleeping schedules back on track. If there are symptoms, then these can be solved for you to rest easy every night.