Sleep isn’t just important — it’s a precious commodity. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 percent of adults are sleep-deprived, meaning they don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. We know getting enough sleep comes with plenty of health benefits, so the more sleep we get the better, right?
Not quite. As it turns out, there can be too much of a good thing (in this case, sleep). In fact, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Health, sleeping more than eight hours can increase your risk of death and/or heart disease.
Researchers analyzed data from 116,000 people aged 35 to 70. They found that those who slept more than the recommended amount were up to 41 percent more likely to experience major cardiovascular events, like stroke, heart failure and/or death, and this risk increased the more one slept.
And napping during the day isn’t helping either.
Coauthor of the study, professor Salim Yusuf explained to The Independent, “[I]f you sleep too much regularly, say more than nine hours a day, then you may want to visit a doctor to check your overall health.”
He added that doctors should regularly question their patients’ sleeping habits.
“For doctors, including questions about the duration of sleep and daytime naps in the clinical histories of your patients may be helpful in identifying people at high risk of heart and blood vessel problems or death,” Yusuf said.
That said, it is important to note these findings are both preliminary and observational, meaning the cause of this association remains unknown. What’s more, excessive sleep could be the symptom of an underlying illness — not the cause.
So be aware of how much you’re sleeping. Keep a log if that’s helpful. And if you find yourself sleeping a lot more or less than usual, it may be time to talk to your doctor about it.