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Sleeping more than 8 hours as you get older can cause serious health problems!!

Who doesn’t like a good long cozy sleep on a Sunday right, or probably on any other day!!

Especially if you’re in no hurry to go anywhere, no work, no school, no college. There is nothing better than waking up early all of a sudden and realizing that it is the weekend and falling back on to the pillow again and then being headed off to another sleep adventure. 

But here is the thing, sleeping for more than eight hours can cause some serious health problems in a person. And the older you get, the problems can get even more severe. Take a look and find out how sleeping for more than eight hours a day can cause problems as you eventually get older. Looks like you’ve just got yourself another new reason to wake up early and not be lazy.

Sleeping more than 8 hours is a risk factor for cognitive impairment in over 65-year-olds!!

According to a research, sleeping more than 8 hours and less than 6 and the lack of cognitive stimulation such as reading may trigger the development of cognitive impairment in people over the age of 65. 

 Cognitive impairment which is often age-related is linked with dementia. According to the World Alzheimer Report, around 35.6 million people worldwide suffer from dementia and given the progressive aging of the population, 100 million cases are expected to reach by the year 2050. 

In Spain alone the prevalence of cognitive impairment varied between 10.1 % and 26.9 % of the population over the age of 65, depending on the region and survey methodologies.

In a study conducted by the CEU University, a total of 245 patients over the age of 65 both from rural and urban areas voluntarily participated in the study.  Results found that the symptoms of cognitive impairment were detected in 12 %  of the cases. 

What caused the cognitive impairment problem?

In addition to genetic factors, researchers point out other factors that could cause the problem of cognitive impairment. One,  It could be linked to risk factors such as age. While the others could be related to lifestyle. Some of these are -

  • Physical exercise
  • Total hours of sleep
  • Intellectual stimulation.

In the cases of age-related factors, the study has found that the prevalence of recorded cognitive impairment showed a 9 % increase each year which also meant that as every ten years passed the chances of the risks of suffering from this illness doubled.

Other results showed that -

  • The lack of reading habit increased the risk of cognitive impairment by 3.7 times.
  • Reading occasionally increased the risk by 2.5 times
  • Also by sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours could increase the risks of cognitive impairment by 2.6 times. 

It was concluded that both chronic insomnia and daytime sleepiness are therefore risk factors linked with cognitive impairment and dementia.

A team of researchers had begun a second phase of the project which consisted of designing a healthy intervention program focused on improving cognitive function and lifestyles related to cognitive impairment in the patients.  

Around 42 % of individuals diagnosed with the problem have agreed to participate in the health education program targeted to promote -

  • Cognitive training
  • Exercise
  • Sleep hygiene

All of which were key elements in preventing dementia occurring from old age. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the Department of Pharmacy at the University CEU Cardenal Herrera and pharmacists in the Valencia Region (Spain) led by Professor Luciena Moreno.

Sleeping over 8 hours a day may be associated with a greater risk of stroke !!

A study found that people who slept for more than 8 hours had an increased risk of stroke. The risks doubled for older people who persistently slept longer than average.

The Study !!

Researchers followed around 10,000 people aged 42-82 years of age over a period of 9.5 years. During the period of 1998-2000 and 4 years later they asked a cohort group of people, how many hours on average they slept in a day and whether or not if they generally were able to sleep well. 

Almost seven out of 10 individuals from each group reported sleeping for over eight hours a day. Whereas only one in ten reported sleeping for over eight hours a day. Individuals who slept for less than six hours or more were more likely to be older women who were less active. 

During the course of the ten year period study, 346 individuals suffered a stroke, either non-fatal or fatal stroke. After adjusting for various factors including age and gender, the researchers found out that 

  • Individuals who slept longer than 8 hours a day were at a 46 % greater risk of stroke than the average,
  • Individuals who slept less than 6 hours a day were at an 18 % increased risk of stroke.

However, the small number of individuals falling in this category meant that the association was not statistically significant.

The individuals who reported persistently long sleep, like sleeping more than eight hours when asked at both points of the study were found to be at double the risks of stroke compared to those with persistently an average sleep duration ranging from about six and eight hours a day. 

The risks were found to be even greater for those individuals whose reported sleeping patterns increased from short to long over a period of four years. These people were at risks of being close to four times to that of individuals who were able to maintain an average duration of sleep. 

Other studies !!

The researchers also carried out a study of combined data collected from eleven other studies related to identifying the association between sleep duration and patterns of stroke risk. The final analysis which included a total of 560,000 individuals from 7 different countries supported the findings based on the 1st study. 

What do the researchers say?

According to one researcher, there was definitely a link between individuals who slept longer than average and the chances of experiencing a higher risk of stroke. Moreover, the question is regarding the direction of this link as to whether longer sleep was a symptom, an early marker or a cause of cardiovascular-related problems.

Older people had less work and fewer social demands which often led to them of having the option of sleeping for longer periods. While previous researchers have shown that they tend to sleep on average for shorter periods. 

Researchers are still not clear as to why there is an association between the period of sleeping hours and the risk of strokes. 

Previously the lack of sleep was also linked with other factors like -

  • Disrupted metabolism
  • Raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

All of which could lead to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of strokes. Whereas from the findings of the current study, there was definitely a strong link between longer sleep duration and higher risks of stroke which was independent of normal risk factors for the onset of cardiovascular diseases. 

The study was carried out by Professor Kay-tee Shaw and a group of researchers frm the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge.