Too Much Sleep May Be as Risky as Too Little

You probably already know that getting enough sleep is important for maintaining the health of your heart in addition to engaging in regular activity, such as working out a few times a week. But may having too many dreams pose the same problems? Unfavorable news, sleepers: According to recent study, there may be some increased health concerns.

A study that was recently presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Cardiology examined slightly more than 14,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This large-scale health survey collects a variety of behaviours and outcomes, including food, exercise, smoking, sleep, and medical diagnoses, similar to other large-scale health surveys.

  • Getting too much sleep—more than seven hours each night—may be associated with a higher risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), according to new research.
  • Excessive sleep duration puts the body into a state of stress and creates elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a key inflammatory marker associated with heart disease.
  • However, the standard recommendation of getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night is just an average.

About seven years were spent monitoring the participants. C-reactive protein (CRP), a significant inflammatory marker linked to heart disease, was measured in those who reported having experienced a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke during that time.

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Additionally, they received an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk score, which accounts for variables including age, race, blood pressure, gender, and cholesterol, all of which can affect the likelihood of developing heart problems.

Researchers discovered a U-shaped link between sleep length and risk of ASCVD: individuals who slept for less than six hours each night had the highest risk, but those who slept for more than seven hours each night also had a higher risk. The sweet spot, with the lowest risk of ASCVD, seemed to be between six and seven hours.

The same was true for CRP levels, which were greater in people who slept for shorter and longer periods of time. As a result, it’s imperative to obtain adequate sleep, especially if you have trouble falling or staying asleep.

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Is it really necessary to worry that catching more zzz’s will harm your heart?

It’s difficult to say, said W. Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution and president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, to Bicycling. “We are aware that increased CRP is a sign of internal inflammation. For a while now, studies have demonstrated that extremes in sleep duration—both insufficient and excessive—stress the body and increase CRP levels.

But there’s a catch: Winter noted that the average suggestion of seven to nine hours of sleep per night does not apply to everyone. Furthermore, those who are considered to be excessive sleepers may really be obtaining less total sleep than they appear to due to poor sleep quality.

Winter advises assessing your level of daytime drowsiness to start with in order to understand how much sleep you actually require. You probably aren’t getting enough sleep if it’s high. How long it takes you to fall asleep is the other metric. It’s a good sign that you’re spending too much time in bed if it takes you an hour or more to fall asleep, he added.

In general, rather than worrying excessively about sleep, it’s worth making an effort to measure your sleep and use techniques that enhance its quality, such as putting the phone away, setting regular wake-up and bedtimes, and developing a bedtime ritual.

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