Are You Sleeping Too Much?

Are you sleeping long nights and still can't drag yourself out of bed in the morning? If you're getting more than 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night, your internal clock may need resetting.

Too little sleep has long been blamed for a variety of mental and physical problems, but too much sleep may be just as detrimental to your health. Routinely oversleeping has long been associated with depression and other mental health issues, but in recent years has also been linked to higher risk of developing risk factors for physical diseases and disorders, such as obesity, heart disease and stroke.

  • A University of North Carolina study published in a 2008 issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that post-menopausal women who sleep nine hours or more are at 60 to 70 percent higher risk of having an ischemic stroke compared to those who sleep for seven hours.
  • When researchers at West Virginia University School of Sleep Medicine examined the records of more than 30,000 adults who participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey, they found that those who reportedly slept nine hours or more were one and a half times more likely to develop heart disease. The study results, published in a 2010 issue of the journal Sleep, represented people from all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
  • A combined University of Warwick and University of Naples Medical School study of more than one million people, also published in a 2010 issue of Sleep, found that those who self-reported getting more than eight hours of sleep a night had a 30% higher risk of dying than people who slept just seven to eight hours.
  • Yet another study, by the National Center for Health Statistics, looked at sleep and other lifestyle habits and found that people who sleep nine hours or longer smoke more, weigh more and exercise less, on average, than people who sleep seven or eight hours most nights.

The normal range of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation and the question of "how much is too much" depends on the individual. Although none of the studies that show an association between oversleeping and illness actually show a direct cause-and-effect relationship, it may be worth mentioning to your doctor if you routinely sleep more than nine hours a night.



Chen, J. et al. "Sleep Duration and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Postmenopausal Women" Stroke 2008; 39:3185-3192 Web. 16 Sept 2010.


Sabanayagam, C. and Shankar, A. "Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular Disease" Sleep 2010; 33(08):1037-1042


Cappuccio, F., et al. "Sleep Duration and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies." Sleep; 2010 33(05):585-592. Web. 16 Sept 2010


Schoenborn, C. and Adams, P. "Sleep Duration as a Correlate of Smoking, Alcohol Use, Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity, and Obesity Among Adults" National Center for Health Statistics. May 2008 Web. 16 Sept 2010.


National Sleep Foundation. "How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?"  Web. 16 Sept 2010.