Getting enough sleep is more important than most people think, but sleeping too much can also be a problem. In fact, sleeping too much (also known as hypersomnia) can cause a variety of problems from excess stress, trouble concentrating, hormonal disruption, and even contribute to factors causing depression. It can even lead to weight gain by affecting your metabolism. Let’s take a look at how excessive sleep can seriously mess with your metabolism, and why you definitely want to make sure you’re sleeping just the right amount of time.
When you sleep too much, it can cause metabolic syndrome. This condition can lead to a variety of issues, one of the most prominent being obesity. When your metabolism doesn’t work correctly, your body doesn’t burn calories like it should. When this happens, you store calories in the form of fat, typically around the waist and thighs, and can become obese. With the rise in obesity in the US, and an estimated 29% of men suffering from metabolic syndrome, there is a clear link in excessive sleep to obesity.
Another big issue with excessive sleep is the fact that it can also lead to heart disease, hyper tension in particular. This is a huge problem, considering the fact that heart disease is one of the two leading killers in the US, right up there with cancer. The reason this happens is because when you sleep too much, plaques can build up in your arteries, causing blockages and other problems that could ultimately lead to a heart attack, and/or death.
As you’ve probably guessed, excessive sleep can also be a contributing factor to diabetes. This comes not just from the fact that obesity is linked to excessive sleep (and also diabetes) but also the fact that excessive sleep can cause problems with how your body produces insulin. These insulin problems can lead to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, though Type 2 is the more common of the two.
Interestingly enough, the relationship between hypersomnia and depression is sort of a chicken and the egg problem. Depression can lead to excessive sleep, and excessive sleep can contribute to depression. It’s a bad feedback loop that can make each problem worse, and lead to even more health problems that cause the situation to further deteriorate.
Low HDL Levels
Another issue that can arise from hypersomnia is having low HDL levels, which is your good cholesterol. Basically, how this works is your good cholesterol helps to rid your body of your bad cholesterol, keeping the levels of both balanced. Less good cholesterol means more bad cholesterol, and more bad cholesterol is linked to heart problems like hardening of the arteries, blood clots, and other issues that could cause serious health problems.
Getting the Right Amount of Sleep
The window for just the right amount of sleep is pretty narrow at between seven and nine hours, and there are a lot of issues that can make it hard to hit the target. Sleep apnea can cause you to get low quality sleep, making it more tempting to take excessively long naps during the day. Alcoholism can also lead to sleeping more often than is advised as well due the way it depresses the nervous system.
One of the best ways to make sure that you are getting the right amount of seep is to visit a sleep specialist. As the name implies, a sleep specialist is a medical doctor that specializes in helping patients deal with sleep disorders, and get just the right amount of sleep each night.
In addition to treating hypersomnia, sleep specialists can also deal with other problems such as nightmares, bed wetting, restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, and more. If there is anything keeping you from getting the correct amount of sleep each night, chances are a sleep specialist can help.
If you know or suspect that you are sleeping too much (or too little) then don’t hesitate to visit a sleep specialist to get matters under control. With all the health problems that can arise from an incorrect sleep pattern, you’ll be glad you did.