The Journal of the American Heart Society has released a new research paper that suggests sleeping too much may have a negative impact on health and mortality. The study found that people who sleep 10 hours a day or more are 30 percent more likely to die prematurely than people who get the standard eight hours. The risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease may also increase.
However, the results of the research are not entirely clear when it comes to causation and correlation. As CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula explains, the study might not be taking into account underlying conditions. Medical issues such as anemia, sleep apnea, and depression can contribute to a person sleeping longer hours and could be what the results are really telling researchers.
“Could it be that the biology changes with changes in the circadian rhythm by sleeping longer and that’s causing increased inflammation, weakening of their immune system. Could it be that they have other adverse health behaviors, so people who sleep longer, maybe they don’t exercise as much.”
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She also put to rest concerns people who like to catch up on their sleep during the weekend might have about the study. The data taken for the paper from 3.3 million patients in 74 different studies focused on people who get more than 10 hours of sleep on a regular basis, not people catching up on their rest occasionally.
Finding out if too much sleep is definitely harmful may take a while to figure out. Socioeconomic factors are another issue that needs to be explored along with a patient’s possible health conditions. Dr. Narula points out that unemployment, for example, can also impact both one’s ability to sleep a proper amount and their overall health. Until the experts are able to weigh in on the issue more decisively, the best course of action is to create a long-term healthy sleep pattern.
Dr. Narula says that people ages 18 to 64 should focus on getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Going to bed and getting up at the same time is important, even on the weekends. You are most likely to get your best sleep if your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Cut out alcohol and caffeine several hours before bedtime. Regular exercise is shown to help with getting a good night’s rest. Putting your devices away before bedtime will also help you get to sleep easier.