Do you hit the snooze button one too many times? You could find that you may be doing your body more harm than good by catching those extra zzz’s on a regular basis. In the wake of Easter break and long weekends it’s important to realign your sleep pattern. Of course it’s important to catch up on sleep if you’re feeling run down, but chronic oversleeping can be harmful to your body and mind.
The Sleep Health Foundation states that somewhere in the range of seven to nine hours a night is considered normal for healthy adults aged between 18 and 64 years. They also recommend not to sleep for more than ten hours at a time. So if you oversleep every now and then, it’s most likely no big deal, but prolonged periods of oversleeping can come with some nasty side effects. That’s why it is important to maintain some kind of sleep routine, even during holidays and long weekends.
Chronic oversleeping has been linked to weight gain, heart disease, diminished cognitive function, increased risk of stroke and depression. Research has found that prolonged sleep can be harmful to your brain function, doubling the risk of developing dementia within 10 years. While people who regularly sleep for more than nine hours a night, are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who sleep less.
Too much sleep can also lead to health complications surrounding weight gain. Simply put, the more you sleep the less time you’re on the move, and the fewer calories you’re able to burn throughout the day.
When it comes to keeping a regular sleep pattern there are some things you can do to get a full 8 hours and avoid the impacts of oversleeping:
- Get to bed before midnight – the 90 minute sleep phase before midnight is rejuvenating and helps prevent morning fatigue.
- Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of rising as people who eat breakfast are more likely to wake with energy. Habitually eating breakfast also increases metabolism (and promotes better sleep at night).
- Avoid excessive naps, especially after 4PM. These may make it more difficult to fall asleep and result in oversleeping.
So it seems the saying “you (over) snooze you lose” turns out to be true! What you may gain in hours of sleep, you’ll lose in quality of life in the long run.