We’ve often heard the dangers of sleeping too little but not much research has been documented about the negative consequences of too much sleep. According to the recommendation provided by the National Sleep Foundation, an average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep – but most of us end up craving more sleep than we require which can create numerous health conditions, according to several recent studies.
Most experts believe that oversleeping is caused due to disturbances or other factors which are making sleep ineffective. Sleeping longer than recommended can also be a sign of a weak heart or other cardiovascular diseases which is why it is important to check with your doctor for possibilities if you notice that you have been sleeping too much.
But what happens to your body if you get into the habit of getting more than 8 hours of sleep? Several researchers have found out that sleeping for too long can potentially develop a high risk of heart diseases, chest pain and stroke over time. Here’s how oversleeping could be destroying your health.
You are more likely to develop obesity
Just like the chicken and egg situation, it is hard to tell what comes first -weight gain or oversleeping? Doctors have noticed that oversleeping seems to be a common issue among those who suffer from depression, sleep-disordered breathing or side-effects from various medications.
As a result, these people experience weight gain due to the time spent lying in bed instead of being physically active which leads to further health complications. A Canadian study showed that people who slept too much increased their risk of putting on weight by 25%.
You are more likely to develop diabetes
It’s not surprising that since weight gain is linked with oversleeping, then a greater risk of developing insulin resistance and, hence, diabetes, is possible. The same research that found a 25% increase of weigh gain in long sleepers, also discovered that these participants also increased their risk of diabetes by 21%.
Other researches also found evidence for change in glucose level associated with too much or too little sleep. People who overslept experienced a spike in their sugar level more easily which eventually led to insulin resistance.
You Start Experiencing Headaches
Have you ever woken up after a long sleep only to experience throbbing pain in your head and a groggy feeling that somewhat resembles a hangover? Although the mechanism behind these annoying side effects of oversleeping are yet to be found in the scientific community, they can still spoil your entire day.
Some researchers have speculated that oversleeping causes fluctuations in neurotransmitters which triggers headaches. Another interesting theory states that sleeping for a prolonged period of time results in headaches due to caffeine withdrawal, hunger or dehydration.
You May Become More Depressed
Depression is one of the leading causes of oversleeping and once you start staying in bed for too long, the mental destress that you experience becomes even worse turning the issue into a dangerous downward spiral.
Researchers have actually found the reason why people who sleep for longer tend to be more distressed. In a study conducted on two twins, it was found that oversleeping led to the activation of a certain gene related to depression.
Your Brain Doesn’t Function Well
Although it lasts for only a short period of time, one of the biggest side effects of oversleeping, alongside headaches, is experiencing a foggy brain. The cognitive function in long sleepers tend to deteriorate over time and one study conducted by Harvard has even found that older women who overslept showed weaker cognition than a 2-year-old.
Other studies have also uncovered a link between too much sleeping and dementia. Doctors believe that the effects on various aspects of cognition could be a direct or indirect result of oversleeping. Many long sleepers experience disturbances in their sleep which disrupts their circadian rhythm and slowly weakens their brain over time.