If you’re getting over 10 hours of sleep a night, your health needs to be re-evaluated, as sleeping this much may be bad news.
The effects differ between men and women.
BMC Public Health (June 2018) reports on a study from Seoul National University College of Medicine involving 13,608 women and men 40 to 69.
How Bad Is Sleeping More than 10 Hours?
• Increased likelihood of metabolic syndrome in men
• Increased levels of triglycerides (bad fats) in men
• Bigger waist size for women
• Higher triglycerides and blood sugar for women
• Lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol) for women
These undesirable conditions are associations and do not show cause and effect.
But this is a dose-response association between how long one sleeps, and these negative outcomes and cannot be ignored.
This means having at least three of the following: high triglycerides, low HDL, elevated waist measurement, high blood pressure and high fasting blood sugar.
Explanation for Association
Similar results were found in people who slept fewer than six hours a night.
Now, for those who sleep little, certain hormones become elevated that may increase appetite.
This can lead to overeating and lower energy levels, which can discourage exercise – all potentially leading to hypertension, high fasting glucose and poor cholesterol profile.
Bur what about why 10 hours of sleep is also bad for one’s health?
One theory is that people who don’t take good care of their bodies (and thus have metabolic syndrome) are more likely to sleep 10 or more hours due to fatigue and lack of energy.
But that would explain why they’re sleeping over 10 hours. It doesn’t explain why 10+ hours of sleep on a regular basis directly causes ailments — if that’s even true, of course.
Sleeping a lot can also be caused by depression. One who’s depressed is apt to avoid structured exercise and not care about nutrition.
Depression, while promoting poor lifestyle choices, can also promote excessive sleep.
However, another plausible explanation for the link between sleeping more than 10 hours and bad health is that of inaccurate self-reporting by the study participants of their sleep habits.
It’s possible that some of the subjects who reported “sleeping” for 10 or more hours were actually awake during some of that time: “time in bed” rather than “time asleep.”
If you spend too much time in bed asleep, what should you do?
“Generally, it’s recommended for people to sleep for 7-8 hours per night,” says Richard Honaker, MD, Chief Medical Advisor at Your Doctors Online, with 30+ years’ experience as a primary care physician.
“Excessive sleep should be evaluated if it’s a new thing and/or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as mood changes, mental changes, sweats or weight loss. Presence of other symptoms could indicate a potential underlying condition.”
If you’re in bed for 10 hours but took one hour to fall asleep and then stayed in bed for an hour after waking in the morning, you had eight hours of sleep, not 10.
But you still need to figure out why you’re awake in bed for an hour before finally falling asleep.