Sleep is essential for our bodies. We need to regain and recharge our mind and energy to continue our daily lives by making us alert and fresh when we are awake. There are countless articles that we can read saying what will happen to our body if it does not get the necessary number of hours of sleep. There are guides for us to have that better sleep when we desire to stay healthy or even the myriad of reasons regarding the importance of sleep.
But what happens to our body if all we do is sleep or even sleep too much? Does having too much sleep make our body even more healthy?
Sleep is defined as a state where the consciousness of environmental stimuli is reduced. It is different from states of coma, hibernation, and death because it can be rapidly reversed. Sleep has its four states – the first three stages are the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and the final stage is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
As the researches show, insufficient sleep has immediate adverse effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function – we are all aware of this, and maybe most of us make it a habit to have a sleeping pattern because we know so much about the effects of having a better sleep. Meanwhile, let us look at the other end of the spectrum; some people sleep quickly and have too much sleep in which they fall into the condition called hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is a condition of excessive daytime sleepiness – too much time spent sleeping or simply being excessively sleepy during the day.
Multiple potential reasons cause hypersomnia, such as sleep disorders (daytime sleepiness and interruptions of breathing during sleep), sleep deprivation, being overweight, drug and alcohol addiction, head injuries, drug prescriptions, genetics, and depression.
On the other hand, its impact on the body is quite extensive, and it links to the following: impaired brain functioning and mental health, increased inflammation factors, increased pain, impaired fertility, impaired glucose tolerance, increased weight gain, higher heart disease risk, higher stroke risk, and higher all-cause mortality risk.
The impacts mentioned are quite alarming and, as the experts explain, here are the few things to help reduce the risk of having hypersomnia:
- create a peaceful sleeping environment
- avoid alcohol
- do not oversleep on weekends
- avoid medications that cause drowsiness
- expose yourself to bright sunlight upon awakening
- avoid working late at night
- avoid naps, especially beyond 4pm
To simplify those mentioned above, some practices might help form a routine and practice good sleep hygiene to help us enjoy the benefits of a night of better sleep and create a habit of a regular sleeping pattern – time to rest and time to wake up.
Sleep has a vital role in having a healthy body and it is recommended to make our sleep a top priority. Always remember that everything that is too much won’t bring any good.
Dina Relojo is the social media manager of Psychreg. She is a teacher from the Philippines.