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 can be problematic when it comes to sleep. At least 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 major shock. What the conclusion does suggest, however, is that quality sleep likely has more value than quantity.
One reason people may be sleeping longer is that they are not 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 is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease, which likely accounts for a portion of the increased risk.
Another way too much sleep may influence stroke risk is that it likely signifies a lack of activity. The more time you spend in bed or napping, the less chance you’re moving around, or even have the energy to do so. 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 the imperative.
Getting tested for sleep apnea, taking a look at your diet (particularly magnesium intake), and boosting activity are all ways that may encourage more restful sleep. Aiming for the sweet spot of 7-9 high quality sleep hours per night is ideal. If you need a daytime nap, keep it 30-minutes or less.