How much sleep we really need differs greatly depending on age. However, it is recommended that the average adult achieves between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Although oversleeping is always tempting (particularly that long lie in at the weekend), sleeping too much is regarded as unhealthy. Why? This blog post explores the associated health risks.
Why Do We Oversleep?
In today’s busy society, sleeping too much seems near impossible, a mere pipe dream. However, for some, sleeping too much is out of their control. Take for example, recent Undateables love seeker, Kate. A sufferer of narcolepsy, Loughborough student Kate cannot control when and for how long she sleeps (in fact, while on the show, Kate admitted that she regularly has to take 5 naps a day to keep up with her condition!). Although narcolepsy and other forms of hypersomnia only affect a relatively small portion of the population, it’s important for us all to realise the health implications too much sleep can have on the body.
The Effects of Too Much Sleep
We all know that going without sleep can cause a myriad of health conditions including depression, hallucinations and heart disease. However, few of us are aware that sleeping too much can affect our bodies in very similar ways.
According to a study conducted by the American Sleep Association, people who sleep more than eight hours and less than four hours each night are 34-35% more likely to die of coronary heart disease (CHD).
We all love our sleep, but do it too much and you will start to notice the pounds piling on. Why? Put simply, the more time you spend in bed, the less time you are up and about, burning calories and staying trim.
Does too much sleep increase diabetes risk? Although the exact correlation between sleep and diabetes is currently unclear, a study involving 788 Europeans found that sleeping too much and sleeping too little limited the body’s ability to respond to the levels of glucose in the blood. These effects, however, appear to have been exclusively linked to men, not women.
An article in the Daily Mail entitled ‘the wrong amount of sleep can age your brain by up to seven years’ highlights how under and oversleeping can cause cognitive decline in areas such as memory, reasoning, vocabulary and semantic fluency.
How to Avoid Oversleeping
There are lots of tips and tricks you can try to help avoid oversleeping. Here are our top three:
1. Familiarise yourself with Apple’s Bedtime Feature
A new feature of the iOS 10 update, Apple’s Bedtime helps users be smart with their sleeping schedules. Bedtime does this by keeping track of your sleeping patterns throughout the week and sending you helpful nightly reminders when it’s time to get ready for bed. For more information on how to set up and use this feature, click here.
2. Ensure your mattress is up to the job
If you’re finding it really difficult to wake up, even after a full night’s rest, there’s a chance that your mattress could be to blame. If your mattress isn’t supporting and comforting your body properly, your quality of sleep will suffer. Click here to browse UK-made memory foam mattresses from £89.99 🌟
3. Make an early morning appointment
Whether it’s booking yourself into a class at the gym, or scheduling in a coffee with your friends, making an early morning appointment is a great way to stop you oversleeping. This method is effective because it provides you with a reason to get up and get going in the morning. Couple this with the thought of disappointing and letting someone down and ipso facto, you’ll be up and out of bed in no time!
Though it breaks our hearts to say it, too much sleep does have negative consequences. So make sure the shut-eye you’re getting is of the highest quality! Good night sleepy heads 😴