Can you actually sleep too much?

Can you actually sleep too much?

by Vanessa Ng 27 Feb 2020

We all know that a lack of sleep is detrimental to our health and overall well-being. However, clocking in too much shut-eye can also have adverse effects. The commonly accepted recommendation of seven to nine hours doesn’t always feel “right” to some, which typically results in them staying in bed for up to 10 hours. While doing this in small amounts on the weekends is surely not an issue, making it regular habit can lead to a series of complications.


Worsen mental health

While it remains something of a chicken-and-egg question, oversleeping is often deemed as a possible sign of depression or poor mental health. Research data has also shown that excessively long hours of sleep can adversely affect cognitive performance and contribute to risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease.


Increase pain

Too much sleep may exacerbate pain. This is especially so for back pain, which can worsen from inactivity. Spending too much time in bed in an un-ergonomic posture due to a low-quality mattress can worsen this. Chronic inflammation in the body can also take a hit if one sleeps for too long. While the exact mechanism is still unclear, longer sleep can contribute to elevated levels of cytokines – the measurement of inflammation.


Quicken weight gain

Researchers believe that long sleep and metabolic syndrome can be linked to hormones. When elevated, they can trigger feelings of hunger and lower energy levels. Impaired glucose tolerance is another concern that’s affected by longer sleep durations. This can in turn result in weight gain and even lead to obesity. Excessive body weight can also translate into other associated health risks such as type 2 diabetes and strokes.


Remember that the field of sleep science is still developing, and more bodies of research are being made with every passing day. Longer hours do not necessarily equate to better sleep, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to sleep health. Finding the sweet spot when it comes to sleeping starts with going to bed at reasonable hours and getting up upon waking. Sleep debt notwithstanding, there’s no need to hit the snooze button if you’re already wide awake!