By Jeanie Ong, PharmD

Too Much Sleep Hurts
We all know not sleeping enough is bad for our health. A lack of sleep causes stress, anxiety, lack of concentration and feelings of fatigue. But what about sleeping too much? Is it possible to get an excessive amount of sleep, and if so, what are the consequences?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute by the CDC recommend the following amount of sleep per night:

If you’re sleeping too much during the day and night, here’s how it can affect your health:

1. Increased risk for depression

People who normally sleep over nine hours a night usually worry more, have less energy and are more likely to be depressed or anxious. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 15 percent of people with depression oversleep. In a study looking at twins, those that slept for more than 10 hours had a 22 percent increased risk for depression.

2. Weight gain

Sleeping more than nine hours a night can increase your weight. Some explanations say that the increased hours spent in bed reduce your time to burn energy necessary for controlling and losing weight. A study also found that people who sleep nine to 10 hours a night increase their risk for obesity by 21 percent.

3. Increased risk for diabetes

Researchers found that middle-aged and older women who slept for nine or more hours a night increased their risk for diabetes by 30 percent!

4. Heart health

Another study found that adults who sleep more than 10 hours a night, along with those who take afternoon naps for more than 90 minutes, are at more at risk for heart failure. Sleeping 10 hours or more increases your risk for heart failure by 33 percent. Sleeping more than 10 hours can raise fat levels in your body, increase your waist circumference and lower your body’s good cholesterol levels.

5. Increased risk of death

In one of the most staggering studies, researchers found that sleeping more than eight and a half hours a night is just as bad as sleeping 3.5-4.5 hours per night. Too little and too much sleep can increase your risk of death by 15 percent!

Try your best to get the golden seven to eight hours of beauty rest per night. Also, don’t let the above statistics scare you too much: it’s always okay to sleep in every once in a while if you’ve had a long or restless week. Most importantly, you need sleep to have a sharp mind, energy to exercise, and great overall health. Follow these tips below to maximize a healthy night’s rest:

  • Set a regular time to sleep
  • Avoid coffee, caffeine and nicotine later in the afternoon
  • Don’t exercise close to bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime
  • Don’t eat big meals late at night
  • Avoid naps after 3:00 PM
  • Set the mood — a dark, quiet room, a cool temperature, and a comfortable bed
  • Keep your TV, cell phone or any other bright screen turned off

Sleep tight!

Be well, stay well,
Jeanie Ong, PharmD
Resident Pharmacist, Walgreens and the University of North Carolina


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