If you’ve had an easy time driving to dreamland in the last two years or so, you’re in the minority. Sleep has become an increasingly enviable commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, a global study published in Sleep health including people living in 79 different countries, estimates that just under 6 out of 10 adults have experienced sleep disorders recently.
“Overall, sleep disorders were increased, and 56.5 percent of our sample reported clinical levels of insomnia symptoms during the pandemic,” comments Dr. Megan Petrov, an Assistant Professor at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University. “Sleep is an essential part of life, as is air, water and food. Your health and function are compromised when the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat are poor. This is also the case if your sleep is of poor quality and insufficient in quantity. “
Consistently falling and staying asleep night out and evening is undoubtedly positive. That being said, as the old saying goes, it is very possible to get too much of the good. While lack of sleep can be a major problem, excessive time spent on sleep is also associated with a wide range of health problems and conditions. In addition, many of the health problems associated with oversleeping are already quite common among older adults, making too much sleep particularly worrying for those over 50 years of age.
Keep reading to learn what can happen to your body if you sleep too much after the age of 50. And then do not miss Betty White’s 3 big secrets to living to 99 – they are good!
The more modern science reveals about the dangers of oversleeping, the more it becomes clear that the brain is one of the first organs to suffer. New research just published in the scientific journal Brain reports that both sleeping too much or too little is associated with further cognitive decline in old age.
Researchers tracked a group of older adults and discovered that those who generally slept less than four and a half hours per day. night or those who slept more than six and a half hours per. night, so that their test results on a series of cognitive assessments decrease over the course of four and a half years. Sleep duration was estimated via EEG readings, but study authors note that these readings probably correspond to five and a half hours to seven and a half hours of self-reported sleep. So while everyone’s body is different, the general “cognitive sweet spot” for sleep time is probably somewhere between a minimum of five hours and a maximum of seven to seven and a half hours of shuteye.
Importantly, these results persisted even after study authors accounted for signs of Alzheimer’s, suggesting that onset of dementia is not entirely to blame for the relationship between oversleeping and cognitive decline.
“Our study suggests that there is an intermediate range or ‘sweet spot’ for overall sleep time where cognitive performance was stable over time. Short and long sleep times were associated with poorer cognitive performance, perhaps due to insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality. , “explains first study author Brendan Lucey, MD, an associate professor of neurology and director of the Washington University Sleep Medicine Center.
“It was particularly interesting to see that not only those with short amounts of sleep, but also those with long amounts of sleep had more cognitive decline,” adds co-senior author David Holtzman, MD, professor of neurology.
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Sleeping too often for too long can also put older adults at additional risk for a wide range of heart problems and events. This is especially true of the fact that older people over the age of 50 are already more likely to deal with serious heart problems.
This research from the American College of Cardiology shows that the amount of sleep an older adult gets each night appears to affect the buildup of both fat and plaque in their arteries. Over 1,700 adults were examined for this study, with a median age of 64. Those who slept about seven to eight hours a night had far fewer signs of artery stiffening and plaque buildup. But more or less, and much more plaque was observed – suggesting a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
“The message, based on our results, is ‘sleep well, but not too well’. Getting too little sleep is bad for your health, but too much also seems to be harmful,” says lead author Evangelos Oikonomou, MD.
Another study, this one conducted by the European Society of Cardiology, performed a massive meta-analysis on a data set that includes over one million adults living without cardiovascular disease to begin with. Over the course of about nine years, study authors say that those who sleep more than 6-8 hours per day. night, 33% (!) were more likely to develop or die of coronary artery disease / stroke.
“Our results suggest that too much or too little sleep can be bad for the heart. More research is needed to clarify exactly why, but we know that sleep affects biological processes such as glucose metabolism, blood pressure and inflammation – all of which have an impact. on cardiovascular disease, “explains study author Dr. Epameinondas Fountas, from Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece.
Related: Sleeping so much increases your diabetes risk by 58%, new study shows
Sleep should ensure that we are awake and alert while the sun is up, but ironically, too much sleep can actually lead to a thick layer of drowsiness during the day, which is extra hard to shake off.
This research published in Psychosomatic medicine revealed that “long sleepers”, defined as people who typically sleep more than eight hours a day, tend to report more daytime sleepiness and feel particularly “unrefreshed” when they wake up each morning. It is also worth noting that people who sleep long actually complain of sleep problems like waking up at night often or having trouble falling asleep more often than those who stick to 7-8 hours of shuteye per night. This just shows that long-term sleep is not necessarily related to quality sleep.
“While it is unclear why long and short sleepers should have similar types of sleep complaints, these data challenge the assumption that more than seven or eight hours of sleep is associated with increased health and well-being,” said study co-author Michael A. Grandner, BA
Related: Living here reduces your monthly sleep by 8 hours, new study says
Legendary rapper Nas may not have been far off when he iconically said that sleep is the cousin of death. Several research projects have concluded that too much sleep can result in higher overall mortality risk.
One study examined the link between sleep habits and mortality among over 10,000 adults. Sleep pattern fluctuations were recorded over a five-year period, and then researchers kept these data in mind while analyzing mortality rates among the population sample 11-17 years later. Adults who began sleeping eight or more hours a night were more than twice as likely to die compared to others who stuck to a consistent seven-hour sleep plan.
Another study published in PLOS medicine reports that people who sleep more than nine hours a night and live a largely sedentary lifestyle are more than four times more likely to die prematurely. Given that many older adults let their fitness habits slip as they progress with age, it is so much more important for those over 50 to have these results in mind.
Related: US ranks fairly average for sleep, but much worse for life expectancy, new study finds
If it’s on your agenda to stay slim, be sure to set your alarm clock every night. Regular sleep too much has been shown to promote extra weight gain. This study published in Sleep traced the lifestyle habits of 276 adults for a total of six years. Sure enough, both short (5-6 hours) and long sleepers (9-10 hours) gained more weight during that period. With regard to the overbearing specifically, such individuals were as much as 21% more likely to develop obesity during the research.
“This study provides evidence that both short and long sleep periods predict an increased risk of future body weight and fat gain in adults. Therefore, these results underscore the need to add sleep duration to the panel of determinants that contribute to weight gain and obesity,” the study authors conclude.
To help counteract these effects, make sure you sleep about 7-9 hours a night and get your body moving by trying these 4 exercises ASAP for a slim body for good, says the trainer.