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Is Oversleeping Bad for Your Health?

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Is Oversleeping Bad for Your Health?

By Annie Tucker Morgan, DivineCaroline

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love to sleep. I’m like a baby in that regard—if I don’t get enough rest, I’m a zombie of Evil Dead–esque proportions the next day. I used to pride myself on the fact that I catch more Zs than most people I know; while they chug coffee and sleep in till noon on weekends to make up for being dog-tired during the workweek, I often log a solid ten hours and wake up early and refreshed without even needing to rely on an alarm clock to rouse me.

Turns out, I shouldn’t have been so pleased with myself—instead, I should have been keeping my body vertical and my eyes open. Recent studies have indicated that oversleeping is at the root of many serious medical problems, including heart disease and diabetes, and can even lead to a shortened life span.

Too Much of a Good Thing …
The amount of sleep people need varies widely, depending on their age, overall health, work schedule, and stress and activity levels. But on average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that seven to nine hours per night are ideal. Chronic oversleeping—not just catching up on sleep after a hard week once in a while, but regularly clocking marathon pillow time—is actually a medical condition known as hypersomnia. No matter how much people who suffer from this disorder sleep, neither napping during the day nor slumbering for many hours at night can relieve them of their exhaustion. In addition, according to WebMD, hypersomniacs are sometimes plagued by anxiety, low energy, and memory problems as a result of their fatigue.

However, scientists are quick to point out that not all individuals who sleep too much classify as hypersomniacs, since numerous unrelated factors can contribute significantly to excessive sleep habits as well. Depression, use of alcohol and certain prescription medications, and obstructive sleep apnea—a condition that disrupts breathing during sleep and thus prevents people from achieving normal sleep cycles—are all potential hindrances.

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DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

361 comments

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8:11AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

thanks

8:30PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

thanks

12:02PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

I love sleeping lol

10:38AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

Interesting

9:34AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

thanks

3:13AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

True, oversleeping as a habit can cause problems, but I imagine that - as with everything else - oversleeping in moderation can be good, or at least neutral for a person.
Thanks for the extra info Mel.

2:34AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

I have the opposite problem of under sleeping.

11:00PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Now that I'm retired I sleep longer hours, some 8-9 hours. If I need to be out-and-about early, I feel better after an afternoon nap. I'm happy just listening to what my body tells me it needs. Moreover, my nightly dreams are extremely entertaining....

10:08PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Napping during the day is one of my favorite things to do. It just seems so decadent to curl up in bed with the sun shining bright. However, I don't have a problem feeling tired if I get a regular night sleep. I just enjoy curling up and relaxing.

6:39PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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