Leave the Hibernating to the Bears
- By Lauren Smalley
- Dec 20, 2018
The first day of winter is tomorrow, but the temperatures have been dropping for a few weeks. Colder weather and shorter days are the perfect recipe for not wanting to leave the warmth of our beds at any time during the day. I am not a cold weather person, and to be honest, hibernating sounds like a pretty great idea. And being in the midst of the busyness of the holiday season has me dreaming of a white Christmas and a nap. But while it may seem the bears have the right idea with hibernating, we as humans should be mindful of getting too much sleep.
Too much of a good thing
While sleep is essential for good health, oversleeping has been linked to many medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk of death. It is important to note that depression and lower socioeconomic status are also associated with oversleeping and these factors may be the reason for the observed negative health effects.
Besides the health problems previously listed, obesity, headaches, and back pain are also common among those who sleep too much. Being awake more lends itself to more physical activity to stave off obesity, and more physical activity can actually prevent some back pain. Headaches can happen from too much sleep due to the decrease in serotonin production while sleeping.
How much is too much?
Healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Some may need more, some may need less. Illness can affect how much sleep you need in a day as well. If you find yourself needing significantly more than nine hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, however, talk to your healthcare professional about possible, more serious underlying health issues. Also be aware to not sleep too little as sleep deprivation comes with its own host of health concerns.