Getting Too Much Sleep Is Actually Bad For You

Writer: Farah Karim

Header image: Min An/Pexel

“Did you sleep well last night?” — is a question that some of us ask others just to fill in the time. But before we realise it, we’re talking about how tired we feel no matter how much sleep we get. Dozing off at work, feeling sleepy by 5PM and not being able to concentrate. What’s the deal with that?

For many of us, trying to figure out exactly how many hours we got to fully rest our brain is a nightmare. The general consensus is that around 7 to 9 hours is ideal, and that sleep is required to restore the body back to tip-top shape. However, new research has suggested that too much sleep could be more detrimental than not having enough. Yikes!

Source: Pixabay/Pexel

How does a lack of sleep affect our health?

Research has shown that sleep is important for flushing toxins out of the brain, including beta amyloid, the substance associated with brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Conditions such as depression can also be substantially affected by sleep. The part of brain responsible for processing emotions, the amygdala, is regulated by the pre-frontal cortex and this is directly affected by sleep.

It’s not just the brain that will feel the lack of sleep. Other areas like the level of insulin, blood glucose and blood pressure levels are all regulated by sleep. Those who sleep for 5 hours or less a night are 200-300% more likely to catch a cold. On the other hand, those sleeping longer than 10 hours can be at a higher risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

Too much sleep is not good

Sleeping for too long disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm (your internal clock). Your body is not a battery and getting more sleep does not equal to getting more rest. The human body likes routine and balance. If you’re sleeping too much, then you will probably feel groggy when you wake up, which signifies that you missed out on essential restorative benefits.

How can you get a good night’s rest?

Make sleep a priority and ensure that you’re getting at least 8 hours of rest every night. Even if you’re not used to it, you’ll have to train your body to go to bed and wake up at the same time in order to regulate your body’s rhythm for a more sound sleep.

Another thing you might want to try is to avoid using your phone when you’re about to sleep. The bright, white lights from the screen will trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime and it might make it harder for you to fall asleep. If you’re feeling sleepy, don’t wait as this feeling might go away after 20 to 30 minutes. After that, it’ll be harder to fall back to the feeling of being sleepy!

Whatever it is, shut off the screens, get to bed and sleep. Leave yourself some time to relax before you actually fall asleep. It’s more important than you think and you’ll be more energetic during the day.