Can excess sleep affect our health?

There is no scientific evidence that sleeping too much is bad. But always feeling the need to laze in bed can be a sign of something wrong.Sleeping little, you know, hurts. But… sleeping too much? A recent article published in Science Alert tries to shed some light on the topic after interviewing 26 doctors who are experts in sleep and the relationship between sleep and health.

7 HOURS. In general, says Jo Caldwell, a neuropsychologist in the US Navy, the number of hours of sleep and health are deeply linked. On average, a healthy adult should sleep about 7 hours a night: every hour less has a direct impact on health, as well as excess hours.

The negative effects of excess sleep would be similar to those resulting from a wrong lifestyle: overweight, heart disease, diabetes, obesity.

It should be noted that Caldwell arrived at these conclusions by evaluating the health status of people who had different sleeping patterns: a study in which patients were subjected to increasing doses of sleep has never been conducted.

Indeed, stresses Monika Haack , an expert in sleep research at Harvard, sleeping for a long time has positive effects on different biological systems, blood pressure, pain sensitivity and mood mechanisms.


WHEN IS IT TOO MUCH? Jamie Zeitzer , researcher on sleep biology at Stanford explains that interpreting the correlation between excess sleep and poor health is very difficult because it is not clear how sleep can promote the onset of certain diseases.

For example, the opposite could be true, which is that heart problems and excess weight cause people to sleep more. For our body, rest is a medicine and, when something is wrong, it is a winning strategy.

Other experts are convinced that a “sleep overdose” does not exist: unless you resort to drugs and sleeping pills, at some point you wake up and stay in bed perfectly awake, even if perhaps with little desire to get up.

TO EACH HIS OWN SLEEP. But how do you know how good it is to sleep? Each individual has different needs for rest, which also depend on what you do during the day. An average duration of 7-8 hours is reasonable: if you always need to sleep much more than that, or if your need for sleep increases significantly over time, it could be an indication that something is wrong. And then it is better to consult a doctor.


by Abdullah Sam
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