In Brief

Is too much sleep bad for you?

Researchers say excessive snoozing may increase likelihood of premature death

People who sleep for more than ten hours a night are 30% more likely to die prematurely than those who get the recommended seven or eight hours, new research suggests.

According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, getting more than ten hours of sleep is also linked to a 49% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 56% increased risk of death from stroke.

The researchers analysed data from 74 studies involving more than three million people, The Guardian reports.

Study leader Dr Chun Shing Kwok, a clinical lecturer at Keele University’s Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, said: “Our study has an important public health impact in that it shows that excessive sleep is a marker of elevated cardiovascular risk.”

Kwok suggested that GPs should ask patients about their sleeping patterns.

“If excessive sleep patterns are found, particularly prolonged durations of eight hours or more, then clinicians should consider screening for adverse cardiovascular risk factors and obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep,” he explained.

“Of course, not everyone who oversleeps has a sleep disorder,” The Sun adds. Hormones related to pregnancy, menstrual cycles and menopause may play a part. Other possible causes include the use of substances such as alcohol and some prescription medications.

Oversleeping, or hypersomnia, may also be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including depression, according to the NHS website. The health service recommends seeing your GP is you suffer excessive sleepiness.

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