The Health Risks of Oversleeping: Understanding the Impact and How to Improve Sleep Quality

 The Health Risks of Oversleeping: Understanding the Impact and How to Improve Sleep Quality

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As the end of the workweek approaches, many of us look forward to indulging in a lazy lie-in on a well-deserved day off. While the idea of an extended snooze sounds like ‘living the dream,’ could oversleeping actually be damaging our health?

Many have experienced the discomfort of oversleeping, waking up feeling more like a groggy, grumpy zombie rather than refreshed and ready to face the day. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the amount of sleep we need varies with age. Babies, for example, sleep around 17 hours each day. Older children need 9 or 10 hours a night, and adults generally need 8 hours to feel refreshed.

Older adults also need about 8 hours but often have only one period of deep sleep, usually in the first 3 or 4 hours. They wake more easily and tend to dream less as they age. While most people average around 8 hours of sleep a night, some can function on significantly more or less.

If you find yourself consistently sleeping more than 9 hours a night as an adult, experts believe it could increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Oversleeping may also indicate underlying health conditions.

Common reasons for extended sleep include exhaustion from a busy day. However, certain health conditions such as diabetes, viral infections, or thyroid problems can also cause excessive tiredness, leading to prolonged sleep sessions. Additionally, psychological factors like depression can result in individuals wanting to spend more time in bed to delay facing the day.

The quality of sleep also plays a crucial role. Consistently waking up tired instead of refreshed could mean a lack of deep or high-quality sleep. One potential cause of poor sleep is sleep apnea, a condition where you snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods during the night. This happens because the upper part of your airway closes, causing sudden awakenings and interrupted sleep. Sleep apnea is more common in older, overweight smokers and heavy drinkers, and lifestyle modifications can make a significant difference.

Improving sleep quality often requires only small changes to your daily routine. According to The Sleep Charity, a good sleep schedule starts in the morning. Getting out into natural light as soon as practical and at the same time every day helps reset your internal body clock and makes you feel more alert.

Daytime exercise and avoiding caffeine at least 8 hours before bedtime can also enhance sleep quality. By evening, refrain from going to bed hungry or thirsty, and avoid using electronic devices before bedtime, as the blue light from these devices can interfere with sleepiness.

While getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, these simple adjustments can significantly improve sleep quality, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day.

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