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Too Much of a Good Thing?

It’s fairly common knowledge that not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to our health. Consequences like daytime fatigue, headache, weight gain, and a host of other ailments have been tied to not getting at least seven solid hours of sleep. New information from a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study sheds light on the other side of the coin: getting too much sleep.

Using data collected from over 15,000 participants over a 20 year period, research has shown that regularly oversleeping by 2 hours per night (beyond the standard 7) can have the effect of aging the brain at an advanced rate. This brain-aging results in lower measured cognition and is especially impactful among those in mid to later life. We all love a good night’s sleep, and sometimes we indulge in the art of sleeping in. Regularly overdoing it however–as the aforementioned study reveals–can have a downside. As is the case with so many key factors to our health, such as diet and exercise, balance is key. Not too much and not too little will set us up for enjoying more of the things we enjoy for a longer time.