The Dangers Of Too Much Sleep

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Many people wonder how much sleep they need. According to experts with the National Sleep Foundation, “Children aged six to nine need nine to 11 hours a night,... Teenagers need eight to 10 hours..., Adults aged 18 to 64 need to sleep for seven to nine hours a night,...[and] people over the age of 65, [need] seven and eight hours” (Dillner). People often think that they are okay to sleep too long or not long enough, but studies are finding that such sleep habits can have serious effects on their health and well being. Scientists and researchers have been busy studying why people sleep, as well as the effects of too much sleep and not enough sleep.

Scientists have developed several theories of why people sleep. One theory is the restorative
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Oversleeping has been connected with an increased risk of obesity, worsened depression, and headaches. People who get headaches easily may find themselves suffering from head pain when they sleep longer than usual. Morning headaches may also be caused when an individual sleeps too much during the day, which disrupts their sleep cycle at night. Oversleeping has also been connected with diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk of death, although sleep may not be the cause of these conditions; depression and low socioeconomic status, which are also connected with oversleeping, may be the root cause. People with depression or low socioeconomic status may have a limited access to health care, causing illnesses to go undiagnosed. These illnesses may then cause individuals to oversleep.
There are also certain medical conditions which affect individuals’ ability to have a regular sleep cycle. Hypersomnia is a medical condition that causes people to be overly sleepy during the day, and sleep for an abnormally long time at night. This condition can cause anxiety, low energy, and memory problems. Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes people to briefly stop breathing while they are sleeping. Having an interrupted sleep cycle can cause people with this condition to need more sleep. Alcohol and prescription medications
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Attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving are all negatively affected when someone does not get enough sleep. Sleep is also the time when people’s memories are moved from short term memory into long term memory. Without enough sleep, people are unable to store their memories and experiences from the past day (National Sleep Foundation; Peri).
The risk for heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes goes up in people who have sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss. Not receiving enough sleep can also increase an individual’s chance of gaining weight or becoming obese. Two peptides, ghrelin and leptin, are thought to have a role in sleep related weight gain. Ghrelin sends hunger signals to the brain, and leptin sends satisfaction signals to the brain. Sleep loss has been connected to an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin.
Sleep loss can also age a person’s skin. While most people have experienced puffy eyes and pale skin after missing a few nights of sleep, constantly missing sleep can make their skin begin to look aged. People may develop dark circles under their eyes, fine lines, and lifeless looking skin. A stress hormone called cortisol is released more by a person’s body when he or she does not get enough sleep. Cortisol breaks down collagen, which is a protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic

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