Too Much Sleep May be Bad for Your Heart

Sleep is a powerful healer. It’s the time when the majority of your body and brain shuts down and the clean-up crew comes in to tighten up all the loose bolts. And that includes making sure our hearts are in tip top shape.

So what’s the most beneficial amount of sleep for promoting heart health? According to researchers, it’s six to eight hours. We’ve long known that too little sleep has a harmful effect on heart health. But it turns out getting more than eight hours may actually be harmful, too.

Research on Sleep and Heart Health

According to a meta-analysis that spanned 11 studies and over one million adults, those who slept less than six hours a night had an 11 percent greater risk of dying from coronary artery disease or stroke. But those who slept more than eight hours had a 33 percent increased risk. It appears that somewhere between the 6 and 8 hour mark is the sweet spot for heart health.

Another recent study showed that sleeping more than 10 hours a night increase heart disease risk by 49 percent and stroke risk by 56 percent. In general, these hardcore sleepers had a 30 percent chance of premature death, which is pretty significant.

But is it direct causation? That remains to be seen. Perhaps those who are sleeping more than 10 hours are already unwell in some way, and their bodies need the sleep. The sleep itself may or may not be the thing that is harmful, just a symptom.

Either way, researchers are not clear on why more than eight hours of sleep could hinder heart health, but sleep does influence glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation levels—all of which are associated with heart health and the prevention/development of disease.

Sleeping too Much May be Bad for Your Heart

Putting the Research into Perspective

Don’t let these two studies on heart health and sleep alone influence your decision to snooze more or less—they’re small pieces of the puzzle.

Everyone has a different need for sleep, based on genetics and lifestyle, so the six to eight hour range may not be quite right for you. And, of course, if you are healing from any sort of imbalance or disorder, your body might need more sleep. Sleep can be a time of powerful healing, so tune into what your body craves.

Of course, sleeping too much is not a major problem for the majority of us—only one in three adults gets the recommended seven hours of sleep a night, which means a lot of us are in a major sleep debt. So if you have taken up a habit of sleeping nine to 10 hours nightly, you may just be catching up on some much needed shut-eye, particularly if you were sleep deprived for a long stretch of time. It’s important to collect all your Zs and catch up on your debt—dreamland doesn’t take credit cards.

But these studies are also a good reminder that you can have too much of a good thing.

Related on Care2:

Images via Thinkstock.

101 comments

Lisa M
Lisa Mabout a month ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa Mabout a month ago

Thanks.

SEND
Elizabeth M
Past Member 1 months ago

noted with thanks.

SEND
Martin H
Martin H1 months ago

I read somewhere else that 9 hours of sleep hours was the limit for persons of a certain age.

SEND
Mona M
Mona M2 months ago

thank you, there is an inner energy intelligence which knows how to naturally corrects the unbalances we have created between sleeplessness and oversleep. Sometimes we just need to trust it.

SEND
Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D2 months ago

Sometimes it's just a matter of playing "catch-up" on lost sleep. Very interesting article TYFP. Happy and restful Saturday :)

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda McConnell2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda McConnell2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
berny p
berny p2 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Naomi D
Naomi D2 months ago

I do ''catch up'' sleep every couple of months. Good to know it isn't considered bad.

SEND