Something You Might Not Have Heard About Sleep…

December 26, 2019 Updated: January 30, 2020
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You’ve heard about the dangers associated with too little sleep, but what about getting too much?

It seems crazy, doesn’t it? But like most things, too much sleep can be problematic. That’s the finding from a new study recently published in Neurology.

The study notes a close association between long naps and sleeping more than nine hours per night and stroke risk. Specifically, the research team noted sleeping and napping too long might boost stroke risk by a whopping 85 percent.

In a world where sleep deprivation is a major concern and finding ways to get more sleep is regularly recommended, these results can be a shock. The study suggests that sleep quality is more important than sleep quantity.

One reason people may be sleeping longer is that they aren’t sleeping well. A number of conditions, including stress or sleep apnea, can disturb sleep and require that lost time to be made up. For some, that can take the form of regularly sleeping longer than nine hours per night and napping for ninety minutes per day.

Sleep apnea and poor sleep are associated with high blood pressure and heart disease, which likely account for a portion of the increased risk.

Another way too much sleep may influence stroke risk is that oversleeping likely signifies a lack of activity. The more time you spend in bed or napping, the less time you’re moving around. A sedentary life is associated with a series of stroke risk factors like high blood pressure, obesity, and poor blood sugar control.

If you’re sleeping too much or have little energy, it might be the result of an underlying medical condition or could boil down to the fact that even though you’re in bed, you’re not sleeping well. If the latter is the case, trying ways to improve sleep quality is imperative.

Get tested for sleep apnea, take a look at your diet (particularly magnesium intake), and boost your activity level to encourage more restful sleep. Aim for the sweet spot of 7 to 9 high-quality sleep hours per night. If you need a daytime nap, keep it 30 minutes or less.

Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s in forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.