You know that sleeping too little can have consequences for your health and well-being. But this does not necessarily mean that people who sleep for long periods is the picture of health.
A new study suggests that sleeping more than six to eight hours a day (including naps) is associated with a higher risk of death and cardiovascular disease, according to a large group. A study published in European Heart Journal On December 5, 2018.
The researchers note that the results do not mean that excessive sleep necessarily leads to poor health. Alternatively, the study results may mean that too much sleep may be a warning sign of another health problem.
Related: What Happens to Your Body and Health When You Don’t Sleep
says Chuangshi Wang, the study’s lead author and doctoral student at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Peking Union Medical College in Beijing. “Excessive sleep is likely a marker of other causes of cardiovascular disease and death.”
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Better Sleep
The study used self-reported survey data from 116,632 adults from 21 countries, all ages 35 to 70, who were part of the Urban-Rural Epidemiology Future Study (PURE). The study followed individuals for an average of 7.8 years, during which 4,381 deaths and 4,365 major cardiovascular events were reported.
The data showed that individuals who reported sleeping six to eight hours each night were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or die during the roughly eight years during which the data was collected.
Those who reported sleeping eight to nine hours had a 5 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death compared to those who slept six to eight hours each night. Those who reported sleeping 9 to 10 hours had a 17 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death compared to those who slept six to eight hours each night; Those who reported sleeping more than 10 hours a night had a 41 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death compared to those who slept six to eight hours each night.
Individuals who slept six hours or less had a 9 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death compared with those who slept six to eight hours a night, although the researchers determined that the result was not statistically significant because of the data (from It is likely that there weren’t (enough individuals sleeping less than six hours per night to make a reliable comparison, as they did with the other groups).
Sleep apnea and other underlying problems may be behind prolonged sleep and contribute to poor health
While the study results may seem to suggest that too much sleep can harm your health, experts agree that the study results are likely an indication that too much sleep is a sign of other health problems.
We know that lack of sleep is a problem; There is a risk of cardiovascular problems, quality of life” Alcibiades Rodriguez, MDMedical Director of The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and Sleep Center at Langone Health University in New York in New York City. Dr. Rodriguez was not involved in the study. “But for sleeping a lot, the question is really what’s the root cause.”
The researchers did not collect information for this study on those underlying underlying problems that may be associated with a higher risk of death or cardiovascular disease, such as sleep disturbances including sleep apnea.
“If sleep apnea is left untreated, it is associated with heart failure, high blood pressure, and arrhythmias,” Andrew Freeman, MDa cardiologist in National Jewish Health in Denver. Freeman was not involved in the study. “The one thing I hear very commonly from my sicker, severely ill patients is that they sleep a lot.”
Dr. Freeman says one of the key points from this new research is that oversleeping is a warning sign of other health problems.
Related: What Causes Sleep Apnea
According to Wang, the researchers adjusted their analyzes of people who showed a high likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea and excluded those who suspected they had a sleep disorder. Wang says doing so hasn’t changed the results.
Others say this approach may not have adequately controlled how much these sleep disturbances affected the results.
“They were statistically adjusted, but there are probably confounding factors in the background that were not taken into account, which is why we see the relationships. We still don’t fully understand, from the most basic level, why these results exist. Rena Mehra, MDdirector of sleep disorders research in the Sleep Center at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute.
She says the sleep apnea patients she sees need 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and take a lot of naps during the day because they don’t get a good night’s sleep.
“That’s a huge confusing factor,” she says. “Several studies have shown that as the severity of sleep apnea increases, there is an increased risk of death during follow-up periods of 5 to 10 years.”
A nap can help make up for a lack of sleep, and getting better sleep shouldn’t be the goal
The researchers note that fewer studies have been done on the relationship between naps and mortality or cardiovascular events (compared to research looking at total sleep).
The new data showed that naps were associated with a higher risk of negative outcomes in people who slept more than six hours a night. According to research, people who sleep less than six hours a night seem to reduce their risk by taking naps.
For adults who work during the day and sleep at night, their circadian rhythms naturally make them more likely to want to nap (if any) between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Rodriguez says.
“The question is how many [study participants] She didn’t take a nap, and then started sleeping around the age of 55 to 60. Is it a sign of a bug [health] Or are they not getting enough sleep at night? Rodriguez says.
In Dr. Mehra’s clinical practice, she generally discourages patients from napping as it reduces sleep pressure at night. But if there’s a sleep disorder, such as untreated sleep apnea, you won’t get good sleep and a nap can help make up for that, she says.
Related: Sleep apnea can cause serious consequences if left untreated
So, how much sleep do I need?
Another interesting question this study asks is whether there is an ideal amount of sleep at night that is neither too much nor too little indicative of good health, so what is it?
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep; At least six hours or more than 10 hours. The The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society We advise adults to get seven or more hours of sleep and do not recommend an upper limit. For this data, individuals who slept six to eight hours each night experienced the fewest cardiovascular problems and early deaths.
Related: How Much Sleep Do You Need Each Night
“There is no one perfect number for every person. There will always be a small amount of range. If you sleep for five hours and 58 minutes, you are not in immediate trouble,” says Freeman. “It’s hard to say exactly how much sleep you need, but [the study found] There is a “moderate” time of about six or seven hours a night.”
(It is worth noting that several other studies – on which the latest NSF guidelines are based – have suggested that seven to nine hours of sleep each night is the ideal range based on the other health outcomes those studies were looking for. Research supporting them is published in March 2015 issue of the magazine sleep health.)
But don’t necessarily panic if your normal sleep patterns fall outside this range. Rodriguez says you’ll know your ideal sleep amount when you’re in a pattern of sleeping at the same time of day, fall asleep, wake up at a normal hour without alarm, and feel alert and alert.
“If you’re doing well with six hours of sleep every night, this is probably normal for you,” he says.
More importantly, Rodriguez says, is learning what’s normal for you and paying attention to whether your sleep pattern is changing — which could be a sign of an underlying health issue that may need to be addressed.
“It could be a sign of a sleep disorder or a medical disorder and you should see a doctor,” he says. “If you’re sleeping nine hours and suddenly it’s not enough anymore and you’re tired in the afternoon, you need to be aware. If you sleep a lot and feel healthy, and don’t have medical problems, you don’t have to worry about it.”