Mark Twain wasn't mistaken when he said too much of anything can be bad for you. And I'm sorry if I'm about to ruin your day right now, but that same logic applies to your beauty sleep. As great as it may feel, sleeping too much at night may be bad for your health, and in more ways than one.
For one thing, according to new research published in the journal Social Psychiatry – Psychiatric Epidemology, getting too much sleep can increase your chances of having nightmares.
The study was performed by a team of researchers from the University of Oxford, and assessed the frequency and negative effects nightmares had on 846 participants over the course of two weeks.
Apparently, the longer you sleep, the longer you'll spend in the late-night REM phase: a part of your sleep cycle when vivid dreaming and unpredictable body movements are most likely to occur.
Nightmares, however, should be the least of your worries.
James Pagel, an associate clinical professor at University of Colorado School of Medicine, told IFLScience,
Dreams are basically a cognitive feedback system on how your brain is functioning, and nightmares, more so than other dreams, give you feedback on what's going on inside your head.
Translation: While they can give you a scare, nightmares are really just a manifestation of your conscious brain trying to sort through some deep-seated issues.
But trust me, there are way more drawbacks that can come with getting too much sleep at night that should concern you much more than the occasional nightmare.
1. Too Much Sleep Can Be A Sign Of Illness
Most of us can say we've slept for long periods of time amidst a fever or stomach virus, but as you get older, those long, sleepy nights can be a red flag for the state of your health.
Susan Redline, MD, MPH, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard, and senior physician in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told Prevention,
Individuals who sleep more than 10 hours per day generally have worse health profiles than those who sleep seven to eight hours. The predominant opinion is that long sleep is a marker for underlying health problems.
And on the flip side, allowing yourself to sleep more than the recommended six to eight hours may lead you to develop heart disease later on in life.
Clearly, there's no winning, here.
2. It Puts You At Risk of Developing Diabetes
A study published in the November 2015 issue of Diabetologia found that even an extra two hours of sleep can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, because your blood sugar raises when you snooze.
3. Brain Fog Gets Even Foggier
When I was on an anti-depressant during my junior year of college, one of the biggest problems I had with the medication was the fact that one pill would make me sleep well into the afternoon, and I'd rarely, if ever, feel refreshed once my body actually woke up.
Sleeping longer may sound luxurious on the surface, but more often than not, it can just leave you feeling lost.
4. Your Quality Of Sleep Could Be Suffering
The amount of sleep you're getting could depend on the quality of your sleeping patterns.
According to Reader's Digest, how much you sleep depends on whether or not your body is being interrupted throughout the night by things like an upset stomach, hot flashes, and how dark and/or how quiet the room is.
Be sure to assess your room in terms of how easy it is to get some peaceful shut-eye in there. It's a checklist for sure, but it's worth reviewing before settling under the covers.
5. Waking Up Can Feel Like A Bad Hangover
If you've ever woken up after a night of indulgent sleep with a nasty headache, it may be because you slept too long and neglected to nourish your body in the proper way.
You may have slept past the time when you'd normally feed yourself or get some coffee in your system, so the headache could related to caffeine withdrawals, dehydration, or even low blood sugar levels.