The Dangers of Oversleeping
April 15, 2006
Global sales for sleeping pills will pass $5 billion in the next several years, and the number of young adults using sleeping pills recently doubled over a four-year period.
However, above and beyond the many known dangers of the pills themselves, excess sleep itself may be unhealthy.
A six-year study of more than 1 million adults has shown that patients who got between six and seven hours of sleep a night have a lower mortality rate than those who got eight hours.
In fact, the lead researcher on the study believes that there is little evidence supporting the notion that a patient who sleeps eight hours a night functions any better than one who sleeps no more than seven hours.
Moreover, another study has shown that those who sleep half that much -- 3.5 hours -- live longer too.
The actual number of Americans with real sleep problems is unclear, because the statistical information lumps insomnia, jetlag, sleepwalking, bed wetting, night terrors, sleep apnea, narcolepsy and other disorders into one catch-all category.