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Is it bad to sleep a lot? 7 health consequences

Is it bad to sleep a lot? 7 health consequences

May 27, 2022

Sleeping is a vital need, and is that our body and our brain must be able to replenish energy and reorganize all the information we have accumulated during the day, in addition to contributing to the growth process and the regulation of biological rhythms. Experts recommend between seven and eight hours of sleep daily .

Less than that, as we all know, can take its toll: we have a hard time concentrating, we are more labile and irritable and our state of health may suffer, reducing, among others, the functioning of our immune system.

But ... what happens when we sleep too much? Is it bad to sleep a lot? Throughout this article we will try to answer this question.


  • Related article: "The 5 phases of sleep: from slow waves to REM"

The importance of sleep

Each and every one of us sleeps, being the dream an essential biological necessity and linked to survival. It is a process through which our nervous system is reorganized and takes advantage of to recover from the damages and the typical activity of wakefulness and that in addition to it is associated to the growth and the evolution of the nervous system, as well as to the consolidation of the useful and relevant memories.

All of them are necessary phenomena for life , in fact in a literal way: the total deprivation of sleep for long enough can even lead to death.


The dream is not something tight and homogeneous but consists of various phases, specifically four phases of slow sleep (the first being sleepiness, the second the superficial dream, the third the average sleep and finally the fourth phase of deep sleep) and one of REM or paradoxical sleep . These phases are happening throughout a cycle that is repeated continuously during the night, modifying the type of brain waves we use and each phase having different characteristics.

Interrupting this process or not taking place sufficiently so that we do not sleep what we owe (around seven or eight hours a day in adults), whether it is voluntary (for example for social or employment needs) or involuntary (as in the case of insomnia), can have as repercussion that the body and the mind do not rest and are repaired enough, which can generate alterations such as greater drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and hormonal and mood alterations .


Sleeping too much: negative effects and risks

Sleeping is, as we have indicated, a basic need. And considering this, when we talk about sleeping more than normal most people could consider that we are facing something beneficial and that allows more and better rest. However, the truth is that like not sleeping, sleeping a lot (more than nine or ten hours a day) has also been linked to the appearance of different problems or an increased risk of suffering them.

In short, and although it is not usual, you can sleep too much, enough to make it unhealthy : To sleep a lot is bad for us. Among the different risks of sleeping more than nine or ten hours a day we find the following.

1. Alters cognitive ability

It has been observed that as happens when we sleep too little, excessive sleep seems to reduce our cognitive capacity, observing an inverted U-shaped pattern in which sleeping too much or too little generates deficits in different mental capacities. Among other, seems to especially affect reasoning and verbal ability , not being as evident a possible affectation at the level of short-term memory.

2. It ages the brain and can favor mental deterioration

It has been observed that sleeping too much contributes to aging of the brain, in addition to having demonstrated the existence of a relationship between excessive sleep and cognitive deterioration, favoring the latter.

In this sense, it has been observed in different studies that people who chronically sleep too much tend to suffer a certain deterioration of their mental and cognitive functions. It also turns out a risk factor for the development of some dementias .

3. It generates more drowsiness and "hangover"

Many people will have noticed that after an excessively long night's sleep they wake up slightly confused, in fact as if they had slept less than normal. And the truth is that the fact of sleeping in excess it tends to generate even more drowsiness, something called sleep hangover .

Not only that, but it is also common for us to feel dizzy, weak and with a headache. The exact reason is unknown, although some proposals may be the fact that it causes us to have a dream of lower quality and more superficial, and that we woke up in one of the phases in which we should be in deep sleep.

Four.Increase the probability of stroke

Although there are doubts about why, it has been observed that those people who usually sleep more than nine or more hours a day have an increased risk of suffering some type of stroke. Specifically, it is estimated that there is up to 46% more likely to suffer them than people with a normative amount of sleep . Also, it should be borne in mind that excess sleep may not be the cause of the increase in this probability, but a prodrome or signal that something may be going wrong at the vascular level.

  • You may be interested: "Vascular dementia: causes, symptoms and treatment"

5. It facilitates the appearance of metabolic and endocrine alterations

Another aspect that can be affected by an excess of sleep is the metabolism and the endocrine system, favoring the onset of problems such as type 2 diabetes, at least in men. Also obesity.

6. Increase the probability of suffering depression

The mood can also be altered by a defect or excessive sleep. And it has been observed that sleeping too chronically It is associated with a greater probability of suffering from depression . It also happens the other way around: depression favors inactivity, drowsiness and fatigue that can lead the subject to sleep more during the day.

7. Worse general health status and lower life expectancy

Finally, it has been observed that at a general level people who sleep excessively have a worse state of health and life prognosis compared to those who sleep between seven and eight hours a day.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bergland, C. (2018). Does Too Much Sleep Have Negative Repercussions? Psychology Today. [On-line]. Available at: //www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201810/does-too-much-sleep-have-negative-repercussions.
  • Wild, C.J .; Nichols, E.S .: Battista, M.E.; Stojanoski, B. & Owen, A.M. (2018). Dissociable Effects of Self-Reported Daily Sleep Duration on High-Level Cognitive Abilities. SLEEP, 182
  • Leng, Y .; Cappuccio, F.P .; Wainwright, N.W .; Surtees, P.G .; Luben, R .; Brayne, C & Khaw, K.T. (2015). Sleep duration and risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke: A prospective study and meta-analysis. Neurology; 25
  • Spira, A.P .; Chen-Edinboro, L.P .; Wu, M.N. & Yaffe, K. (2015). Impact of Sleep on the Risk of Cognitive Decline and Dementia. Curr. Opin. Psychiatry, 27 (6): 478-483.

Impact of Sleep on Health Video -- Brigham and Women's Hospital (May 2022).


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