Are there any health risks in over-sleeping?

During weekends I spend most of the time (over 14 hours) in bed since I don’t go to work. Does this pose any health risks? Angel

During weekends I spend most of the time (over 14 hours) in bed since I don’t go to work. Does this pose any health risks? Angel

Dear Angel,

The problem is not yours alone, but for several other people who oversleep due to various reasons.

As such, the gold standard for good sleep is said to be eight hours. But quantity of sleep needed by each individual varies. It depends on the age, lifestyle of a person including level of physical activity, intake of alcohol, caffeine or addicting substances, quantity of food consumed and mental make-up. Hours of sleeping are more for infants and growing children including teenagers. This happens because the growth hormone is secreted during sleep. With advancing age, as growth of body no longer occurs, hours of sleep are also reduced naturally. Some people tend to oversleep due to having a disturbed sleep caused by obstructive sleep apnea. Any sickness can make a person feel weak such as to sleep much. A person suffering from depression may oversleep or suffer from insomnia. Some drugs like over the counter anti cold drugs and anti allergy drugs can cause much somnolence as adverse effects. Apart from these reasons, other people oversleep for relaxation or even enjoyment.

Lack of sleep is harmful for health, but oversleeping is equally harmful. Oversleeping can lead to increase in weight or obesity. This itself is a risk factor for many health-related problems like hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, stroke, uterine fibroids, infertility and even some cancers. Research shows that oversleeping increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease. With advancing age one may also suffer from dyspepsia due to oversleeping. This is manifested in form of burning pain in chest or upper abdomen, nausea and or vomiting. This occurs due to the digestive system becoming sluggish due to lack of physical activity.

A person can experience headache and even bodyache after oversleeping. Sometimes the headache may be severe and persistent. Following oversleeping, middle-aged persons tend to develop puffiness below eyes which does not look very pleasant. Moreover, a person does not feel fresh and cheerful after sleeping for long hours continuously. In fact he/she feels more lethargic and dull. Therefore, oversleeping is okay occasionally when one has to catch some sleep, say after a long journey or staying up till late night working. But it is not good to make it a habit.

 

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