Mental Health

Sleeping Too Much Affects Mind And Body, Here's How

While the health effects of insomnia are widely studied and discussed, the subject of oversleeping does not get as much attention. Given how important sleep is, some of us wonder if we get away with spending excess hours in bed.

Now, according to guidelines, most adults who are aged 18 to 64 should aim for a sweet spot of sleeping between 7 to 9 hours each night. Of course, one could exceed this range from time to time due to something like jet lag or a particularly busy week.

But if you find yourself overly dependent on the snooze button, you may want to stop and take a closer look.

Regularly sleeping for extended hours, constant difficulty in waking up, and experiencing grogginess throughout the day are considered to be possible symptoms of hypersomnia i.e. the opposite of insomnia.

Some studies have found a link between too much sleep and weight gain, which is more of a two-way street than cause-and-effect.

"What we do know is that as people get more obese, they're likely to be long sleepers," saidDr. Michael Irwin, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. "And if you're a long sleeper, you're more likely to be obese."

In a similar manner, long sleep has also been associated with medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stroke. Spending excess time in a horizontal position, especially if your mattress is not in good shape, could also lead to back pain. Headaches may also be triggered by oversleeping, as noted by the American Migraine Foundation.

Your cognitive ability may also be impacted, as revealed by recent findings from what researchers have called the largest sleep study in the world. Involving more than 10,000 people from around the world, researchers found those who slept for 7 to 8 hours a night performed better on brainpower tests. Those who slept more than that were just as impaired as those who slept under the range.

"So if you’re sleeping 11 hours every single day over a month, that could have an effect on your brain much like sleeping too little every day for a month," said lead author Conor Wild from Western University in Canada.

Reasoning and verbal abilities were affected the most, and Wild believed it might be an effect of sleep inertia.

"If you’ve ever had that feeling of having a really deep, long sleep it might take you a while to come fully out of that sleep," he added

If you think you may be sleeping too much, it is advisable to see a doctor and make sure there is no serious underlying medical condition. In addition to those mentioned above, drinking too much alcohol or suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are other possible reasons to consider.