Sleeping Too Much May Kill You

By Christina Kim - March 26, 2015

I am an early person; I go to bed after the sun sets and wakes up before the sun rises.
That’s my definition of early.

I am probably hearing gasps and you might have choked on that last mouthful of whatever you just put inside your mouth when you read the first line, and the first thing that may come to your mind is “Crazy, is she for real?”

Here’s a napkin to wipe that residue from your mouth, which is still open, by the way, and I am here to add to the statement, that, “Technically, I used to, and I still try to keep to it until today”
Also, to be more technically precise, don’t we all go to bed after the sun sets, well, at some point or another though the rising up may vary for everyone?
(I am not judging)

My habit of sleeping early and waking up early started from a very young tender age, as cultivated by my parents, and I happen to be one of those who take their parents’ Instructions words, very seriously.
I sleep, well, before 9, and probably wake up early before 6.
At some point, I even wake up at 4am.
Don’t gasp yet, and no, I am not crazy.

I just find that it is a great feeling to be up so early, when everything is so dead quiet (most would find the exact same environment, just past midnight and they were staying up, in case you were wondering).
I could just channel all that concentration on my favorite things to do; and back then, it was about studying.
I woke up early just so I could study.
Yes, now go ahead and call me crazy but I know I am not the only one.
I am those who need zero distraction to fully focus, especially when it comes to studying.
The same applies when I am doing my writing or reading (disturb me when I read, at your own risk).
I can multi-task, that is never a problem, but I choose to focus when it comes to certain tasks.

I still try to keep to the same routine, like clockwork, even way after I have left school and graduated from my university, though it tends to get a little more challenging over the years.
The rush for assignment deadlines started from the university days; it is no longer about working alone, as it involves a team and typically everyone would be working hard to meet the many deadlines we have for multiple assignments, lab work and even prepare for our midterms. It is not that we were poor in time management, but our schedule and workload back in the university was nothing like those depicted in Beverly Hills 90210.

When I started work, my first job fitted nicely into my early schedule though only the starting early part as I ended up working past my working hours and got home late. 
My bedtime hours shifted naturally, and then it got worse as I moved on to jobs where projects and even after work entertainment sessions start to seep in.
(So, again tell me about that time management?)

I still try to sleep early, and as studies show, it is quite important the way sleep affects our well-being and of course, productivity.
That golden rule of eight hours, is something that we have conditioned with, growing up and also after being told repeatedly by research and health professionals.
Of course, our parents too, played their part by reminding us on the importance of sleep, of at least 8 hours.

Then there were also studies which revealed that the recommended amount of sleep should be within the range of 6-8 hours, and as long as we fall within that range, we will be fine.
It was always about health, well-being; mentally, physically, and of course, psychologically.
Cells are renewed and the body needs its rest after a long day.
We are always advised to get a minimum of six hours of sleep, and of course eight would definitely be the optimum.

What about the times when we are struck with insomnia?
You know, the times when you want to sleep so badly, but you ended tossing and turning in your bed and becoming more and more agitated with each passing hour, but you just can’t go to sleep.
You forced your eyes to shut, and blank out your mind, but no, you’re still awake.
When you finally fall asleep, surprise, it’s time to wake up.

Insomnia is definitely an annoying disorder that we encounter once in a while (if it prolongs, you will need to consult a doctor).

Insomnia is just one of them.
Our hectic lifestyles and also all that long working hours which creeps in unknowingly and then robs you of that supposedly relaxation time after work, just somehow make it more challenging to stick to a mundane bedtime.
(I am referring to those with flexible working hours, and those who are often required to be out on the field. The usual 9-5 jobs do face prolonged working hours too, though the former group is more likely to see that varying patterns in their hours, disrupting even their sleep).
There is no longer a fixed hour to go to sleep but rather, a case of, I will sleep when I get to sleep.
More often than not, either one can just fall asleep the moment their head touches the pillow, or they lay awake due to the rapid ongoing activity in their brain.
Their sleeping hour is determined by the time they could switch off, though their waking hour is still predetermined, not because they could help it, but there is that office policy to comply with.
They have to wake up to get to work, despite the hour they went to bed.
(Sometimes there may be flexibility depending on the company/employer, but it is not always a steadfast rule, of course).

Do you really think these people get the required 6-8 hours of sleep?
Let’s just say, they got home after midnight, take a quick shower and by the time they hit their beds, it’s almost 2am. They probably fall asleep immediately, and then their alarms go off at 7am.
That is an approximate of 5 hours of sleep? Or maybe lesser sometimes…

Weekends are of course looked forward to and regarded as luxury; where they could just turn off that alarm and sleep for straight, 10-12 hours, to catch up on that lack of sleep they suffered throughout the week.
It sounds logical, right?
They are probably tired and just need that much needed rest after a full long week.
It is just like recharging a battery back to life.
It makes total sense, and it is also vital because they can do their health a favor.
With those extra hours of sleep, they could compensate for that lack of sleep and be fresh for the coming week.

Now studies show that 6-8 hours of sleep still fall within the optimum or recommended range, and that anything below 6 hours or above 8 hours of sleep could lead to an impact to their mortality rates.

You could actually die earlier if you get less than 6 hours of sleep, and if you sleep more than 8 hours of sleep.

Yes, now go ahead and gasp.
Uh- OH, that definitely does not sound like good news.

The six-to-eight hour bandwidth of sleep is supposedly the perfect range to adhere to for everyone, but what about the differing sleep requirements for different age groups?
Let’s just stick to the adults.
An average adult is today, according to study, sleeping at an average of 7 hours which is, phew, falling safely into that median of the recommended band.
However, the interesting part of the studies also seem to suggest that sleeping more seem to shorten your life span compared to those who sleep less.
It is a little perplexing, I agree, but I could see the logic somehow behind this deduction.

Catching up on sleep is always deemed logical but did you also notice that the more you sleep, the more lethargic you end up feeling? 
You always wanted to just stay in bed and continue with your sleep, snuggling in deeper into bed and making yourself comfortable.
You just felt so tired, and you always reasoned that it was because of all that sleep you were deprived from.

Of course, the same goes when you have been getting lesser sleep than you should, but somehow by comparison, you don’t always feel like you’re a walking panda, or koala when you sleep lesser?

Or at least, that’s how it was for me.
When I sleep lesser than my usual hours, I would feel energetic in like, the first few hours, then I would be a little like a zombie during mid-day.
A couple of days in a row, and even those much-dreaded dark circles appear and I start to even feel agitated.
(So don't talk to me when I tell you I have not been sleeping well, just kidding).

When I sleep more, somehow I feel fatigued when I wake up and just want to go back to bed whenever I can. 
It was like being on a drowsy flu or cough medication all day long.
There is barely energy to do anything, let alone any form of motivation.
I can be quite hyperactive sometimes, trying to run around and get things done all at once and when I am in this mode, I just feel sick and even depressed.

It was just something that was revealed in the studies too, on how sample groups of people were put to test in the sleep lab in the University of Warwick to study the effect of the different hours of sleep do to them.
Most of those who slept more reported hints of depressed feelings compared to those who slept lesser; and the former were also reported to have lower mortality rates.

Of course the study was not accepted by all; as different experts also pointed out the different underlying factors such as hidden illnesses, sleep-induced medication and such which could also lead to the reasons behind the length of one’s sleep.
Well, we are always bound to hear something new each and every day as technology advances and experts are always on the quest to make improvements in each and every area of our lives.
I appreciate their efforts, as always, but for now, I am sticking to my number of hours of sleep.

Now, was it 6 or 8 again?
I am sticking to 7 hours, just to be safe.
(I will try to meet that, but even when I can't, lesser is still a safer bet than more. A classic case of lesser is more this round)

On a separate note, it’s perhaps also time to give heads-ups to those I know and care about their dangers of oversleeping and get them to do something useful, while they subtract that 'additional hours' from their usual.
(Yes, you know who you are, those who always say you need to catch up on your sleep, you need lots of sleep, and that sleeping is your hobby).

Yup, Rise and Shine, darlings!

Now, we know why koalas and pandas are only living that average lifespan of 16-20 years, with their average sleeping hours of almost 20 hours a day, and they are always, almost, lifeless and drowsy.

I am just saying.


Reference to article discussed above: Why a Long Night’s Sleep May Be Bad for you
Credits to BBC News
Link to the article here

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