Too much sleep can be harmful
Lack of sufficient sleep is a problem for millions of people across the globe. But what about too much sleep? Though busy men and women might think it's impossible to get too much sleep, excessive sleep is nothing to joke about.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night (the NSF notes that a small percentage of people may need 10 hours of sleep per night). People who routinely sleep more than eight hours may have an underlying health concern. For example, the NSF notes that a recent study found that routinely sleeping more than 10 hours per night can be linked to metabolic syndrome. The Mayo Clinic says metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions that occur together and increase a person's risk for serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
Obesity, headache and back pain are some additional potential side effects of excessive sleep.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School notes that genetics and age are significant factors in determining the amount of sleep healthy individuals need. However, young adults should resist the notion that they need less than seven hours of sleep per night because they're young, while older adults should similarly avoid thinking they need more sleep simply because they're aging. As the NSF guidelines suggest, the sweet spot for healthy adults is typically between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
A good night's rest is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. But adults must recognize that excessive amounts of sleep can be just as detrimental as inadequate sleep. Individuals can speak with their physicians to determine their specific sleep needs.