Is getting too much sleep bad for you? How much is too much?

One of the most common complaints for busy people is that they fail to get enough sleep – but how often do you hear people wishing they were getting less sleep?

While not as common a problem as sleeping too little, getting more than your recommended hours of sleep a day does present its own problems.

TEMPUR looks at what you need to know about how much sleep you really need…

WHAT IS CONSIDERED TOO MUCH SLEEP?

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person.

While one person may function perfectly well on a few hours of sleep – Margaret Thatcher famously claimed she only slept four hours a night – others will need a lot longer.

However, for a normal adult, it’s generally recommended that you try to get between seven to nine hours sleep every night.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET TOO MUCH SLEEP?

Put simply, sleeping for more than the recommended number of hours for an adult will make you feel grumpier and slower.

Too much sleep doesn’t just affect your mental well-being and reactions, it can start to affect your physical health as well. Excessive sleep on a regular basis is believed to lead to an increase in diabetes, heart disease and the chances of having a stroke.

WHY DO I WANT TO SLEEP MORE IN THE WINTER?

The amount of sunlight that we are exposed to can really affect our sleeping pattern.

Less sunlight means our brain produces more of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy. It stands to reason, that in the darker months the lure of the bed may be stronger than in the brighter, sunnier summer months.

A brisk walk can really help to boost your energy before the sun goes down. It can remind your body that it’s still daytime and you shouldn’t be winding down yet. Essentially, do what most of us try to do in the winter – absorb as much sunlight as possible!

Remember – we don’t actually need any extra sleep in the winter months, it just feels like it.

Stick to a regular bedtime and routine to ensure your body and mind is in the best possible shape to nod off.

WILL TOO MUCH SLEEP AFFECT MY MENTAL HEALTH?

The main area that can suffer from too little or too much sleep is our mind.

Both excessive sleep and insomnia are often linked to depression or anxiety. If you are feeling down, or more panicked than usual, you may desire to stay asleep for longer in the mornings as a way of preventing the day from beginning. However, the increased amount of sleep that results from this does not help depressives with their state, it actually worsens it.

As always, if you are worried that you are getting too much or too little sleep, consult with your doctor who will be able to offer you advice tailored to your specific situation.

Do you have any experience with the problems associated with too much or too little sleep? Let us know your stories and tips below…

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