Sleep is one of the most critical aspects of our lives concerning health; therefore, getting enough sleep can be crucial in preventing certain diseases. Experts often point out how people nowadays aren’t getting nearly enough sleep, which is usually connected to chronic health issues like stroke, obesity, stress, and mental disorders; not to mention day to day irritability and sluggishness that follows after not getting enough sleep. However, sleeping too much seems to be causing some problems and raising some health risks as well. How is that possible?
Sleep is the time when the body repairs and restores itself in order to be able to function the next day properly; getting too little sleep prevents the body from recharging, therefore affecting our health. On the other hand, more evidence point out the fact that excess sleep is just as bad for our health. So, if you like to sleep late on Saturdays, you might have to change that habit. In order to justify such a horrendous recommendation, we’ve gathered a list of the health issues and disorders oversleeping can cause. But before we continue with the article, make sure to visit Edusson, in case you need some writing services and insights on writing tips and tricks for essays and papers.
Impaired Brain Function and Mental Health
When it comes to the brain, sleep plays an immensely important role. During sleep, our brains get rid of waste byproducts, balance neurotransmitters and put our memories at rest. If we don’t get enough sleep, the brain is not able to complete all the tasks, but getting too much sleep can have the brain confused which ultimately affects mood and mental health.
One of the main symptoms of mental health issues and impaired brain function is oversleeping. According to Reader’s Digest, depression usually causes oversleeping in the majority of patients, and many studies have proven the connection between oversleeping and frequent mental distress. The reason for that is the fact that sleep activates genes related to depressive symptoms and cause lack of physical activity, which in turn, to complete the circle, increases sleep duration and depressive symptoms. This vicious cycle can be extremely dangerous, and can lead to many more mental health issues, like:
- Anxiety disorders: oversleeping affects 50 percent of adults suffering from anxiety disorders; many of them also suffer additionally from panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and phobias
- Bipolar disorders: from 28 percent to 78 percent of adults who supper from hypersomnia (oversleeping), experience bipolar disorders and manic episodes
- Inability to focus and understand new concepts and terms; people who oversleep over time develop an inability to actually focus on learning new concepts and understand new ideas
- Memory impairments; many studies have found a connection between hypersomnia, memory impairments and decreased cognitive function
Increased Inflammation Factors
Inflammation processes are usually connected to a variety of diseases, from diabetes, heart diseases to even Alzheimer’s. Chronic inflammation is often increased and unbalanced in people who tend to sleep excessively, usually more than 10 to 12 hours. Of course, there are many things in life, alongside excessive sleep, that can contribute to inflammation, like smoking, drinking, obesity, etc., but oversleeping has been one of the leading causes prolonged inflammation turns into chronic inflammation.
According to Early Bird by AmeriSleep, inflammation in the body is measured by the levels of cytokines, also known as C-reactive proteins, or CRP. Some studies have compared the CRP levels to sleep duration and have proven that both male and female long sleepers had elevated CRP levels. These people usually slept for more than nine hours a day; female long sleepers had 44 percent higher CRP levels if they are sleeping more than nine hours.
Many pieces of research have managed to explain obesity by connecting it to oversleeping due to a lack of physical activity and slow metabolism. Regardless of whether you lack sleep or sleep excessively, weight gain is bound to happen over a six-year period. People who sleep more than nine hours are 21 percent more likely to gain weight when compared to people who sleep between six and eight hours. There are also cases in which people are physically active and do sports, but because of oversleeping gain weight or are unable to lose weight. So, the fact that even healthy diet and exercise have no impact on the relation between weight gain and oversleeping is rather concerning.
Higher Risk of Stroke
Many studies conducted in the past few years have been dealing with the question of stroke and oversleeping connection. A recent study from the University of Cambridge has reached a conclusion that people who slept over eight hours were 46 percent more likely to have had a stroke during the study period. People whose sleeping period increased during the actual study had a four times higher risk of stroke than normal, consistent sleepers. This suggests that the longer one sleeps, the higher the risk of stroke. Even oversleeping can be a symptom or a warning sign of an imminent stroke or overall stroke risk.
Higher Risk of Premature Death
One of the most concerning effects of oversleeping, alongside hearth diseases, mental issues and stroke risk, are linked to a higher risk of premature death. A lifestyle in which a person sleeps more than nine hours a day might actually contribute to an early death. When we say ‘early death’ it doesn’t mean that the person is actually going to die from oversleeping, but rather from diseases that are directly linked to oversleeping, causing premature mortality risk. To paint a bigger picture in terms of oversleeping caused death risks, let’s take a look at some actual causes:
- Immune function: your immune system protects your body from various diseases; oversleeping influences the function of the immune system and influences the expression of cytokines
- Sleep fragmentation: the more you sleep, the more fragmented your sleep is going to be, which reduces sleep efficiency; this basically means that you are going to lay awake in the bed for more time than you’d want to
- Photoperiodic abnormalities: by spending a long time in dark rooms you could disrupt the circadian cycle; this cycle is basically a 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals
- Fatigue and tiredness: fatigue, tiredness, and lethargy can cause oversleeping, and oversleeping can cause all of the three
- Other underlying diseases like obstructive sleep apnea, coronary disease, and overall health failure