Welcome to Focus on Fatigue!
Another big year will soon draw to a close. Down here in Australia, that means summer sun and beach fun. Wherever you are in the world, the staff of InterDynamics would love to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a joyful festive season and a safe, well-rested start to the new year.
The FRMS Team
InterDynamics Pty Ltd
320 Adelaide Street Brisbane Qld 4000
Tel +61 7 3229 8300
Views expressed in articles and links provided are those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InterDynamics (except where directly attributed).
Long sleepers: Are they getting too much of a good thing?
The saying goes that everything is good for you in moderation. This holds true for most things. Too much food makes us overweight and too little robs us of energy, but the right amount keeps us healthy and active. Too little exercise leads to all sorts of nasty health issues and too much gives us blisters and bad knees. A moderate amount of exercise keeps us fit and strong. What about the third pillar of the healthy living triad? Sleep.
Most of us know the importance of sleep, perhaps because we are now bombarded with information every other day about the dangers of sleep deprivation. Hence we strive, and sometimes succeed, to achieve the recommended 7-9 hours. There are some people, on the other hand, who not only love their sleep but are experts at getting it. Nine hours a night? Ten, perhaps? No problem. But are all these snoozing hours actually doing more harm than good? Is too much sleep bad for you?
As it turns out, a number of researchers have asked this question over the last few decades and most agree the short answer is yes. Too much sleep is, indeed, a bad thing. Much of the research in this area has looked at the issue in terms of mortality rates. They’ve found that, over a long-period of time (anywhere from 4-25 years, depending on the study) people who sleep a lot are more likely to die than those who get the recommended amount of sleep. People who sleep too little are also more likely to die, but the association is actually stronger for the long sleepers than it is for the short sleepers. This is especially true for older adults (45+ years).
Why is sleeping a lot bad for you?
This is the part where research has yet to provide an adequate answer. In fact, some suggest that sleeping a lot may be a symptom of ill-health rather than the cause. In other words, does sleeping too much cause health problems, or do health problems make people sleep a lot? This is an area which requires more research.
How much is too much sleep?
Here is where things get even trickier. The Sleep Health Foundation states that “most adults require between 7 and 9 hours a night to feel properly refreshed and function at their best the next day.” Many of the studies quoted in the research use ‘more than 8 hours’ as the basis for their analyses, which would make nine hours of sleep seem like a risky proposition. However, one meta-analysis found that the association between long sleep and mortality seemed to strengthen as the hours of sleep increased. So, if you’re sleeping between 7 and 9 hours each night and you feel refreshed and ready to get out of bed each morning, you’re probably in the clear. If you regularly sleep longer than 9 hours, however, it might be a good idea to have a health check-up.
Does this mean I should avoid ‘catching up’ on sleep?
You absolutely should continue to catch up on sleep if you’ve been deprived (caveat: it’s always better to avoid becoming sleep deprived in the first place). These studies were looking at people who regularly sleep for longer than the recommended hours each night. For them, excessive sleep was the norm, not the exception.
I’m a long sleeper! What should I do?
If you regularly sleep longer than nine hours every night, it might be a good idea to chat to your local health care professional. It’s possible that the quality of your sleep is low and that’s why you spend so much time asleep, or that the extra sleep is caused by some underlying health issue. It’s also possible that, genetically speaking, that’s just the way you were made.
- Youngstedt, S. D. and Kripke, D. F. (2004) Long sleep and mortality: Rationale for sleep restriction. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 8(3), 159-174.
- Ding, D., Rogers, K., van der Ploeg, H., Starnataskis, E. and Bauman, A. E. (2015) Traditional and emerging lifestyle risk behaviors and all-cause mortality in middle-aged and older adults: Evidence from a large population-based Australian cohort. PLOS Medicine, 12(12), e1001917. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001917.
- Gallicchio, L. and Kalesan, B. (2009) Sleep duration and mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sleep Research, 18, 148-158.
- Cappuccio, F. P., D’Elia, L., Strazzullo, P. and Miller, M. A. (2010) Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep, 33(5), 585-592.
Conferences and presentations
Sleep Down Under
Last month InterDynamics attended the Sleep Down Under Conference in Brisbane, Australia. Sleep Down Under was the 30th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) and Australasian Sleep Technologists Association (ASTA). Staff who attended enjoyed hearing all the latest research on topics such as nutrition for shift workers, individual management, and the wonders of the circadian rhythm.
Date: 17-20 October 2018
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia
More information can be found on the conference website.
In the News
Provided below are a selection of articles from around the web on the issues associated with fatigue. We hope you find them useful and interesting.
Video: Can you get too much sleep?
SciShow, YouTube (24 December 2016)
Are you someone who likes to hit the snooze button four or five times before waking up? Do you have to be physically pulled out of bed every morning? Do you ever wonder if that’s normal and healthy? Well, this episode is for you!
Article: Why eight hours a night isn’t enough, according to a leading sleep scientist
Georgia Frances King, Quartz (10 June 2018)
For something that we spend a third of our lives doing (if we’re lucky), sleep is something that we know relatively little about. To set the record straight about being horizontal, Quartz spoke to Daniel Gartenberg, one of the world’s most-talked-about sleep scientists.