We get it:
Sleep is good for us
The National Sleep Foundation regularly campaigns “to celebrate the health benefits of sleep,” and experts have been boosting sleep’s values as no less important than proper diet and exercise.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to stroke, obesity and heart disease
But sleeping too much may also be risky:
It, too, is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and obesity, not to mention diabetes and depression.
So, how much is too much?
And if you’re sleep-deprived during the week, does sleeping 10 or 11 hours on Saturday and Sunday to catch up put you in any jeopardy?
Most experts say that a healthy amount of sleep for an adult is a regular seven to nine hours a night
And the operative term here is “regular,” meaning the issue isn’t the college kid who power-sleeps 15 hours on vacation to catch up from too much studying (or partying).
When scientists refer to “long sleepers,” they’re referring to people who consistently sleep nine or more hours a night, says Kristen Knutson, a biomedical anthropologist who focuses on sleep research at the University of Chicago’s Department of Medicine.
“If you’ve been pulling all-nighters, by all means extend your sleep on the weekend if you can; try to catch up,” Knutson says, “but if you’re sleeping nine or 10 hours night after night after night for months on end . . .
Then we’ve got to understand why are you sleeping so much.
” You might be getting poor-quality sleep, she adds, or are “already on the pathway to illness and your body is reacting by wanting you to sleep more.
”Studies have shown that spending too much time in bed can be associated with some specific health problems.
It can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms, leaving you more prone to illness, for example, and depriving you of sunlight exposure, which can compromise your immune system.
One study found elevated levels of C-reactive protein — a systemic marker of chronic low-grade inflammation associated with heart disease — among those who sleep a lot (and those who sleep too little).
A study last spring found that those who slept too much were as much at risk of developing diabetes as those who slept too little.
Diabetes was least common in people who said they slept seven to nine hours per night.