A Moment of Science

The Golden Snooze?

On this Moment of Science, we discuss why it might be possible to get too much sleep.

It’s time once again for the segment of our show we call What You Didn’t Know. This is where we tell you something you already knew and then surprise you with the follow-up.

Not getting enough sleep is bad for your health. However, getting too much sleep may be bad for your health, too.

A group of sleep researchers did a huge study of over a million people whose ages ranged from thirty to a hundred. The researchers wanted to see if there were any conspicuous relations between their sleep pattern and health since then.

In order to insure correct data, researchers controlled for age, smoking, weight, economic status, exercise, and so on. They just wanted to look at one thing: sleep. People who got seven hours of sleep a night were less likely to have died than people who got less than that. That isn’t too much of a surprise. But they were also less likely to have died than people who got eight hours a night, and even less likely than people who got nine!

The researchers caution that this doesn’t mean you should force yourself to get seven hours exactly. It’s more likely that each person needs a certain amount of sleep–whatever your number may be–and will do

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