You Can ‘Change The Day You Die’ By Not Oversleeping

by Myla Cruz

In Z Living's compelling show Change The Day You Die, people living unhealthy lives connect with nutritionist Adam Carey. He helps them change the way they live, thus delaying the day they'll die. In our series 'You Can Change The Day You Die,’ we're highlighting health news that can help anyone live a longer, healthier life.

You Snooze (Too Much), You Lose

Some say you can’t have too much of a good thing, but in terms of sleep, doctors disagree. 

"Individuals who sleep more than 10 hours per day generally have worse health profiles than those who sleep 7 to 8 hours," explains Dr. Susan Redline in Prevention. Redline is a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard, and the senior physician in the sleep and circadian disorders division at Brigham & Women's hospital in Boston.  

While the amount of sleep you need varies over a lifetime, nearly one third of all adults in the US are categorized as "long sleepers," clocking in more than 8 hours of sleep nightly. There are a number of ways this can negatively affect one’s physical and mental health: 

Too Much Sleep Is Tied To Weight Gain 

Though it's not a simple case of cause and effect, there's definitely a connection. Dr. Michael Irwin, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA explains in this Fox News story, "What we do know is that as people get more obese, they're likely to be long sleepers," he says. "And if you're a long sleeper, you're more likely to be obese." 

One simple to digest theory is that too much sleep translates to too little exercise.

Also on Z Living: You Can ‘Change the Day You Die’ by Sitting Less, Moving More

You'll Also Have a Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is already the number one cause of death in the United States, and sleeping more than 8 hours a night actually increases your chances of dying from it by 34 percent. 

Headaches Can Worsen With Too Much Sleep

For some people prone to headaches, sleeping longer than usual can actually cause greater pain. Researchers believe this is due to the effect oversleeping has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. People who sleep too much during the day and disrupt their nighttime sleep may also find themselves suffering from headaches in the morning.

Also on Z Living: You Can 'Change The Day You Die' By Drinking Coffee

Overslept? Bye-Bye, Mental Clarity

Having trouble focusing on Monday morning? It’s likely because of the 20 hours you slept over the weekend. Chronic extended periods of sleep can age your brain by as much as 2 years and make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, according to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Sleeping Longer Can Make Depression Worse

Science has proven that oversleeping and depression are interconnected, but it's a “What came first: the chicken or egg?” scenario. Often, says Irwin, people with certain types of depression sleep longer. And longer sleep can make depression worse. Shortening your time spent sleeping can boost energy and brighten your mood if you’re feeling glum.

Also on Z Living: You Can ‘Change the Day You Die’ With Brain Games

Too Much Sleeping Has You Missing Out On Life

When you’re sleeping, it’s impossible to exercise, explore, eat, laugh, or converse. While rest is an important element of life, its greatest value is preparing you to enjoy all of the wonderful experiences the world has to offer. 

Lastly, It Puts You At a Higher Risk of Dying Early

Yes. As daunting as it seems, you really can change the day you die by not oversleeping. Large-scale epidemiologic studies have shown that people who sleep longer on average are more likely to die prematurely than those within a healthy range of rest. Inflammation may be a factor for this correlation explains Irwin, but you're also more likely to expire at a younger age if already have health ailments which are brought on by excess sleep such as diabetes and heart disease.

WATCH on Z Living: Change The Day You Die, where each week, one lucky person will get the chance to rewrite their future and start living a much healthier life. See a sneak peek here.

Tell us in the comments: Do your own sleep habits need an overhaul?

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