Is Oversleeping Really an Issue?
It is easy to find information about the risks of too little sleep, but discussions about the dangers of oversleeping get less attention. Medical experts recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night. People that consistently spend more time dozing than the recommended amounts may harm their health. Since so many people seem to struggle to get enough time in bed due to their busy schedules, it may seem surprising to learn that oversleeping is a common problem.
How many hours each night someone should sleep varies. Even the recommended range of 7-9 hours is not best for everyone. The average applies to most healthy adults aged 18 – 64. Many others need more time in bed to get the rest they need. The elderly, infants and children, and people with an illness or injury usually need more sleep than the nine-hour suggested maximum.
Medical experts recommend this range because studies have shown that people with sleep patterns that keep them in bed for 7-9 hours are usually the healthiest. People that sleep around seven hours a night generally have the lowest morbidity rate in medical studies.
Fatigue Remains Constant
People that oversleep usually develop the habit because they continue to feel tired even when they get a full nine hours of rest. Medical concerns could be to blame for their fatigue more than a natural need for more rest. Some people spend a lot of time in bed but do not fall into a deep restorative sleep. Sleep apnea is a common cause of disturbed sleep patterns that leave people tired. Some thyroid conditions, the regular consumption of alcohol, and autoimmune disorders, among many other illnesses, can cause people to feel tired no matter how long they stay in bed.
Inadequate mattresses are another issue that often leads to restless sleep. A bed with lumps or sags will not support the body properly through the night. The sleeper will often toss and turn to try to find a comfortable position. It is possible to not wake up enough to realize how often the movement takes place, but the action will wake the person enough to keep them from getting into a deep sleep pattern that will rejuvenate their body.
Habits Can Develop
Sometimes people oversleep because they enjoy staying in a warm, soft bed. People oversleep consistently are the ones who may harm their health the most because their bodies do not need that much sleep. People who only sleep late on weekends do not usually accumulate enough hours of sleep on average to cause themselves any harm. A lengthy list of health risks exists when people develop the habit of oversleeping consistently.
Depression, body pain, and fertility issues are some of the possible health concerns. People that oversleep face a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease or stroke. Chronic inflammation, a health problem that can lead to cancer and many other disorders, is another risk factor for oversleeping. A decline in memory and decreased cognitive function is also possible. Oversleeping increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Oversleeping and sleep deprivation share many of the same health risks.
Most people can change their habits and get the right amount of sleep. An essential first step is to avoid napping because it disrupts nighttime rest and naps factors into the overall total of hours slept each day. It is better to go to bed a little early after a restless night. Some people will try to nap in the afternoon or evening and risk the loss of another night of sleep.
Avoid caffeine, exercise, and alcohol several hours before bedtime. Alcohol can make people feel drowsy, but the effect of it on the body prevents restful, deep sleep. Try to keep the bedroom the ideal temperature for sleeping. Sleep experts recommend a temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not continue to lay in bed on a day off. Once awake, get up and around. Track how long the body stays soundly asleep on weekends when there is no alarm because this is an excellent guide to what the body needs.
People that consistently stay within the recommended time of 7-9 hours a night but feel tired should make an appointment with their doctor. A medical exam can help to diagnose sleep apnea or another medical condition, causing fatigue. Replace any mattress 7-10 years old or older. Anyone that wakes up with pain in the back, shoulders, or hips should consider upgrading their mattress even if it is newer than seven years
Everyone is a little different when it comes to their need for sleep. Age, activity level, and much more can contribute to what the body needs. People receiving the right amount of sleep should feel rested, be free from body pain, and think clearly. Sluggish thoughts, pain, and fatigue could mean oversleeping is taking place.
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