Sleep is a vital necessity, and it is that our body and our brain must be able to replenish energy and reorganize all the information that we have accumulated during the day, as well as contribute to the growth process and the regulation of biological rhythms. Experts recommend between seven and eight hours of sleep per day.
Less than that, as we all know, can wreak havoc on us: we have trouble concentrating, we are more labile and irritable, and our health can suffer by reducing, among other things, the functioning of our immune system. . .
But … what happens when we sleep too much? Is it wrong to sleep a lot? Throughout this article we will try to answer this question.
The importance of sleep
Each of us slept, sleep being an essential biological need and linked to survival. It is a process by which our nervous system is reorganized and used to restore the damage and activity typical of arousal and which is also associated with the growth and evolution of the nervous system, as well as the consolidation. useful and relevant memories.
These are all phenomena necessary for lifeIn fact in a literal way: complete sleep deprivation for long enough can even lead to death.
Sleep is not something tight and homogeneous but consists of several phases, namely four phases of slow sleep (the first being drowsiness, the second shallow sleep, the third medium sleep and finally phase 4 deep sleep) and one of REM or REM sleep. These phases follow one another throughout a cycle that repeats continuously throughout the night, changing the type of brain waves we use and each phase having different characteristics.
Interrupt this process or it is not done enough so that we do not have to sleep what we have (about seven or eight hours a day in adults), whether voluntary (for example for socio-professional needs ) or unintentional (as in insomnia), can cause the body and mind not to rest and repair themselves sufficiently, which can lead to alterations such as increased drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and hormonal and mood disturbances.
Sleeping too much: negative effects and risks
Sleep is, as we have indicated, a basic necessity. And with that in mind, when we talk about getting more sleep than usual, most people might find that we are dealing with something that is beneficial and that allows for more and better rest. However, the truth is that like not sleeping, sleeping a lot (more than nine or ten hours a day) has also been linked to the appearance of different problems or an increased risk of suffering from them.
In short, and although it is not usual, you can sleep too much, enough to make yourself unhealthy: Sleeping a lot is bad for us. Among the various risks of sleeping more than nine or ten hours a day, we can mention the following.
1. It impairs cognitive abilities
It has been observed that just like when we sleep too little, too much sleep seems to reduce our cognitive abilities, observing an inverted U-shaped pattern in which sleeping too much or too little generates deficits in different mental abilities. Other, it seems to particularly affect reasoning and verbal ability, And a possible impairment of short-term memory is not so obvious.
2. It ages the brain and can promote mental retardation
It has been observed that too much sleep contributes to the aging of the brain, in addition to having demonstrated the existence of a relationship between excessive sleep and cognitive impairment, favoring the latter.
In this regard, it has been observed in different studies that people who chronically sleep too much tend to suffer from impaired mental and cognitive functions. it also turns out a risk factor for the development of certain dementias.
3. Generates more drowsiness and “hangovers”
Many people will have noticed that after an excessively long night’s sleep, they wake up slightly confused, in fact as if they had slept less than usual. And the truth is that sleeping too much it tends to generate even more drowsiness, which is called a sleep hangover.
Not only that, but it’s also common for us to feel dizzy, weak, and have a headache. The exact reason is unknown, although some propositions may be that it causes us to have poorer and more shallow sleep, and that we wake up in one of the phases in which we should be in deep sleep.
4. Increases the likelihood of stroke
Although there are doubts as to the reason, it has been observed that people who throughout their lives tend to sleep nine or more hours a day have an increased risk of suffering some type of stroke. More precisely, it is calculated that there is up to 46% more risk of suffering than people who sleep normally. Also, keep in mind that too much sleep might not be the cause of this increased likelihood, but a prodrome or signal that something might be wrong at the vascular level.
5. Facilitates the appearance of metabolic and endocrine disorders
Another aspect that can be affected by excessive sleep is the metabolism and endocrine system, leading to the development of problems such as type 2 diabetes, at least in humans. Also obesity.
6. Increases likelihood of depression
Mood can also be altered with disturbed or excessive sleep. And it has been observed that chronically sleeping too much is associated with an increased likelihood of depression. It also happens the other way around: depression promotes inactivity, drowsiness and fatigue which can cause the subject to sleep more during the day.
7. Worse general health and lower life expectancy
Finally, it has been observed that in general people who sleep excessively have a poorer state of health and life expectancy than those who sleep between seven and eight hours a day.
- Bergland, C. (2018). Does sleeping too much have negative repercussions? Psychology today. [Online]. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201810/does-too-much-sleep-have-negative-repercussions.
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