Obesity, Heart Failure, Stroke and Death Can Stem From Too Much Sleep


Sleeping more than nine hours a night on a regular basis, can put the sleeper at risk for a variety of health conditions. Some of those health conditions may include, depression, stroke, infertility, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even an early death. Moreover, it could mean there are other health issues that should be talked over with a doctor.

 Risk of Depression:

In a study using adult twins in 2014, it was discovered that sleeping for long periods of time increases the risk of having symptoms associated with depression, over a 49 percent chance of feeling depressed. Study members who had slept the regular seven to nine hours a night have a 27 percent chance of feeling symptoms of depression.

 Damage to the brain:

A study using elderly women in 2012 realized that too much, or too little sleep, for six years, aggravated brain function. Women who slept over nine or under five hours aged their brain an average of two years. Those who slumber too long are at a 46 percent higher risk for having a stroke. However, the researchers don’t know if the long hours of slumber is a consequence, cause, or early warning sign of declining brain health. Previous research concerning the connection between sleep and an increased risk of stroke does acknowledge there is an association between strokes and sleep, however, researchers are unable to explain the correlation.

Could Make it Harder to Get Pregnant:

A research team in Korea evaluated the sleep habits of over 650 women who were going through in vitro fertilization in 2013. Researchers discovered pregnancy rates were higher in women who were getting the standard hours of sleep each night. Pregnancy rates were lowest in women who slept over nine hours each night.

The results of the study, however was inconclusive because a clear causal relationship could not be determined. Reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Evan Rosenbluth, told HuffPost that sleep habits can modify circadian rhythms, menstrual cycles and hormone secretion. Nonetheless, sleep habits concerning infertility are harder to determine because there are too many variables to control.

 Increased Risk of Diabetes:

Quebec did a small study and researchers identified that those who were sleeping over eight hours a night, over a six-year time span were twice as likely to establish type 2 diabetes, or an altered glucose tolerance. This was determined by controlling for different people’s weight. If the over sleepers struggle with obesity, the risk increases exponentially.

 Can Cause Obesity:

The researchers from Quebec, measured body weight and fat gain in adults in Quebec, over six years. Short and long term sleepers gained more weight in that time period than those who slept eight hours. Those who slept over nine hours were 25 percent more likely to gain 5 kilograms in six years. The study was controlled for food intake and activity levels. A correlation between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic diseases can be explained by obesity and mental distress. Mental distress can cause people to sleep longer and lag in their physical activity efforts, causing obesity over time.  Obesity can also create problems with sleep. Sleep apnea is common in people with obesity.

 Can Cause Heart Disease:

Research released at an American College of Cardiology meeting, reported that sleeping over eight hours a night is connected to an increased risk of heart problems. The data analyzed by researchers of over 3,000 people, learned that people who sleep for long periods of time are at twice the risk for clogged arteries and 1.1 times the risk of heart disease. Long term sleepers lack physical activity needed to get the heart pumping as it should.

 Can Lead to an Early Death:

A review of 16 studies was done in 2010, and the study showed an increased risk of death in both long and short-term sleepers. Sleeping over eight hours a night is associated with a 1.3 times increased risk of death amidst the 1,382,999 study participants.

The amount of sleep necessary changes throughout a person’s lifetime. How much sleep a person needs varies depending on age, level of activity, overall general health and habits. Illness and stress causes a need for more sleep.

Those who oversleep have hypersomnia and is a medical disorder. People who have this condition feel intensely sleepy all day and it is not helped by napping. Other symptoms of hypersomnia include, anxiety, obesity, memory problems, and lack of energy, all due to their constant need for sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that makes people stop breathing temporarily while sleeping. This disorder can generate a need for more sleep, due to the disruption in the normal sleep cycle and lack of REM sleep. Obesity can also cause sleep apnea.

Chronic illness may also affect sleep habits. It is helpful, if you have chronic illness, to practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed at the same time every night. Do not fall asleep with the television on. Turn off the light before going to sleep.  Also doing calming activities an hour before bed such as yoga, meditating, listening to music or reading can help prepare to go to sleep.

By Jeanette Smith


Huffington Post: 8 Health Risks
WebMD: Effects of too much sleep
Health Quest: Long Sleep, Higher Stroke Risk?
American Academy of Sleep Medicine: Sleeping too little – or too much –  associated with heart disease, diabetes, obesity

Photo courtesy of somenametoforget’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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