The sleep need of every human being is different, some need more sleep, some less. The optimal average value is seven to eight hours per night. There are people who get along with more or fewer hours of sleep for a long time but on long term this is having a negative effect on the mental and physical health.
Even more important than sleep duration is the quality of sleep. The quality of sleep indicates how good and restful our sleep is. When having the proper pre-conditions we fall asleep easier and sleeping through becomes natural. By the way: did you know, that we wake up up to 30 times per night for a couple of minutes? As long as these arousals only last about three minutes longest, we don’t remember them and no harm is done. Only when we lay awake for a longer time, lack of sleep might occur – and this clearly is harmful for our body and mind. But, according to studies, too much sleep might be harmful on long term, as well.
Consequences of too much sleep
- Indications of a depression: In a study with adult twins could be observed that a longer sleep duration is increasing the risk for developing a depression. The participants slept for seven to nine hours per night. 27 % showed a disposition for depression. Those who slept nine hours or more reached 49 %.
- Weight gain: Canadian scientists observed in a long term study that participants who slept nine to ten hours easier gained 10 pounds than those who slept seven to eight hours. This in spite of balanced nutrition and sufficient exercise. That means sleep duration has a significant influence on our weight.
- Complicated pregnancy: In a Korean study the influence of sleep duration on the pregnancy of women with in vitro fertilization has been examined. 650 women with hormonal treatment have been observed. Those women who slept from seven to eight hours showed the highest pregnancy rate. Women with nine to eleven hours of sleep showed the lowest rate. It was not possible to prove a correlation of too much sleep and infertility but it was visible that sleeping habits influence the menstruation cycle as well as hormone production.
- Increased diabetes risk: When sleeping too much, it is more likely that a glucose tolerance develops which might lead to developing diabetes.
- Impact on the heart: According to cardiologists, six to eight hours sleep protect from heart diseases. With insufficient sleep especially the risk of a stroke as well as of an infarction increases. Long sleepers are even more at risk than short sleepers.
- Impairment of brain functions: An unhealthy amount of sleep might influence the brain function, especially of elder women. They become more forgetful.
The perfect sleep duration ranges between six to eight hours per sleep. How long the actual sleep duration is, depends of different factors like: age, time of the year, gender etc.
Too few sleep has consequences on the suggestibility of people concerned. Read more in part 2.
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This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German