How Salt Affects Your Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure is under 120/80. An increase of sodium stiffens and narrows your blood vessels making your heart pump faster with more pressure to get oxygen to where your body needs it resulting in higher blood pressure.
Thats why in order to maintain healthy blood pressure its important to take a look at how much sodium youre consuming, Dr. Darling says. You can calculate your sodium intake for the day using one of the many free apps available or tally your intake on your own.
You can also check your blood pressure at home with advice from your doctor.
When my patients calculate their sodium for a few days theyre usually surprised by how much higher it is than they expected, Dr. Darling says. Just because food doesnt taste salty doesnt mean its low in sodium awareness of this is key because keeping your intake in check is the best means of prevention.
Get in the habit of checking the nutrition label for sodium content on all foods, beverages, and condiments. Note the serving size and make adjustments if you eat more or less than what is listed as one serving. Some restaurants may provide sodium and other nutrition information on their websites
Should I Be Concerned If I Get Excessive Sleep
As you know, a good nights sleep is critical and essential for health. Yet not all instances of excessive sleepiness are cause for worry. Occasional feelings of exhaustion leading to a night or two of excessive sleep are commonplace. Yet, if the feelings of exhaustion are interfering with the quality of your life, you should consider making specific lifestyle changes, or getting tested for certain sleep disorders. .
Thats because sleep disorders can be a potential cause of hypersomnia and impact how you sleep, affecting your overall health, safety, and quality of life. Its common to associate sleep disorders with getting too little sleep, yet sleep apnea and narcolepsy can actually cause hypersomnia or excessive tiredness. Hypersomnia poses serious health risks and is linked to several medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and death.
If youre getting excessive sleep read through the factors that may be contributing to your excessive sleepiness. Some may not be cause for concern and represent temporary sleep behavior alterations, others are more serious.
Sleep Boosts Mental Wellbeing
Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder in adults.
When people with anxiety or depression were surveyed to calculate their sleeping habits, it turned out that most of them slept for less than 6 hours a night.
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Treatment To Help With Sleep Problems
If sleep problems don’t respond to self-help, talk to your doctor. It may be worth keeping a sleep diary for 10 days before your visit so you can explain the problem. Doctors will generally look for any underlying medical or psychological reason for the problem and may suggest further changes to your routine or lifestyle to help improve your sleep.
If these don’t work, your doctor may suggest sleeping pills for insomnia. Sleeping tablets can help in the short term but quickly become less effective and can even make your sleeping problems worse. They can also be very addictive. For all these reasons, sleeping pills are generally prescribed at the lowest dose and for a short period of time.
If your problems persist, your doctor may refer you to a specialist sleep disorder clinic.
What Is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Excessive daytime sleepiness is a difficulty staying awake or alert when you need to. Many experts define EDS as distinct from fatigue, which involves strong feelings of physical exhaustion, but the two conditions may overlap.
Recent research points to excessive sleepiness being a significant problem. The Sleep in America Poll for 2020 by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly half of Americans report feeling sleepy between three and seven days per week. Forty percent of adults said that their drowsiness interferes with daily activities at least occasionally.
Some resources refer to EDS as hypersomnia, which describes disorders of excess sleep. However, hypersomnia is a broader term that includes issues like sleeping too much at night that are distinct from extreme drowsiness during the day or in situations when alertness is required.
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What Kind Of Research Was This
This was a cross sectional study which used survey data collected from more than 50,000 middle aged and older adults from 14 US states. The data examined their health and lifestyle factors, and the researchers aimed to look at the relationship between sleep duration, heart disease and diabetes, and to see how this relationship was influenced by obesity and mental health.
The researchers suggested that short sleep of six or fewer hours per night, due to our work and lifestyles, may be associated with several chronic diseases, though the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. The researchers theory is that short sleep may influence our metabolism and insulin regulation and increase risk of weight gain. However, these are only theories.
The main difficulty with this study design is that it is cross sectional so cannot prove cause and effect and say that it is the duration of sleep that is directly causing the risk of these diseases. A multitude of biological, health and lifestyle factors may be confounding the relationship and having an influence on both a persons sleep duration and their risk of the chronic diseases studied.
The Culprit Of High Salt Intake Is Not What You Think
Most people assume their salt shaker is to blame, Dr. Darling says. But a large portion of our dietary sodium is already found in many of the foods we eat and the combination of both can add up quickly.
Here are some examples of high sodium foods:
- Fast food and prepared foods.
- Cold cuts and other processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, and salami.
Unless youre preparing your meals from scratch using real, unprocessed foods its likely youre getting much more sodium than you need, Dr. Darling says.
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Sleepiness Caused By Sleep Deprivation
Lack of sleep is widely considered to be the most common cause of excessive sleepiness. Sleep deprivation may be short-term or chronic and can itself be caused by numerous sleep disorders and other medical conditions:
- Pain: Virtually any ailment that induces pain, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, or herniated disks, can complicate sleep and make a person prone to drowsiness during the day.
- Frequent Nighttime Urination: This condition, known as nocturia, involves needing to get up from bed during the night to pee and is estimated to affect up to one out of three older adults and one out of five younger people.
What To Do If You Suspect Youve Been Oversleeping
The Cleveland Clinic suggests trying to get your sleeping back on track yourself by:
- Avoiding the snooze button
- Waking up at the same time every day weekends included
- Embracing natural light when you wake up and avoiding it close to bedtime
If you still find yourself oversleeping regularly after making these changes, schedule a visit with your primary care physician. Dr. Magalang says doctors will typically employ a process of elimination to rule out conditions in order to determine the underlying issue.
Your doctor will likely start by performing a physical exam, reviewing medications that may affect sleep, and discussing further testing, including blood work, Makekau says.
He or she will want to know details about your sleep habits. Khan suggests keeping a sleep diary for at least two weeks before the appointment and noting how much youre sleeping and the quality of that sleep.
Then, he or she may give you a referral to a sleep clinic or recommend you have a sleep study done, Khan says. A sleep study can help rule out sleep disorders, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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You May Not Realize It But There Are Many Problems With Sleeping Too Much
In a world where so many of us are struggling to get enough sleep, the issue of sleeping too much might seem like a luxury problem.
Its actually not. Like insufficient sleep, oversleeping is a sign of disordered sleep. It may be connected to a mental health issue, such as depression. Its often a signal that a person is experiencing poor sleep quality, and it can be a sign of a clinical sleep disorder, including obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
Sleeping too much is linked with many of the same health risks as sleeping too little, including heart disease, metabolic problems such as diabetes and obesity, and cognitive issues including difficulty with memory. Similar to people who sleep too little, people who sleep too much have higher overall mortality risks.
We talk a lot about insufficient sleep, and the risks that a lack of sleep poses for physical health, mood, relationships, and performance. But oversleeping isnt something to ignore.
Hypersomnia is the clinical term for excessive sleeping and excessive sleepiness during the day. Like its counterpart, insomnia, hypersomnia has several core symptoms:
- Sleeping for extended hours at night .
- Difficulty waking up in the morning .
- Trouble rising from bed and starting the day.
- Grogginess on and off or consistently throughout the day.
- Trouble concentrating.
How much sleep is too much?
Here Are Some Sleep Problems People Experience
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting around one in five people. You may have insomnia if you find it hard to go to sleep, wake up several times during the night or wake up too early. During the day you may feel sleepy, anxious, irritable, and unable to concentrate or remember things.
Narcolepsy can cause you to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. Its caused by the brain being unable to regulate your sleeping and waking patterns. If you have narcolepsy, you may feel very drowsy throughout the day and fall asleep suddenly and without warning for example, while at work, talking, or driving. There is no cure but the symptoms can be controlled by medication and by lifestyle adjustments such as changing your sleeping routine, improving your diet and exercising.
Sleep apnoea is when your breathing stops and starts when you sleep, constantly interrupting your rest. If you have sleep apnoea, you will often snore loudly or make gasping or choking noises while you sleep. During the day, you will feel very tired, find it hard to concentrate, have mood swings, and have a headache on waking.
Losing weight and sleeping on your side can help mild sleep apnoea. You can also be prescribed special devices to help keep your airway open during sleep.
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The Verdict: Oversleeping Can Hurt Your Health
According to WebMD, the amount of sleep a person needs âdepends on your age and activity level as well as your general health and lifestyle habits.â Even though the average recommended amount of sleep is seven to nine hours, certain times in your life call for more. According to Russell Sanna, executive director of the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, people need more sleep than usual when they’re recovering from illness, major surgery or a radical time-zone change.
However, just because you can sleep for 12 hours on a daily basis doesnât mean you should. According to Dr. Lisa Shives, director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois, grogginess from oversleeping is known as “sleep drunkenness.” Occasional oversleeping doesnât pose serious health risks, but if youâre consistently sleeping too much and waking up groggy, you may want to consult a physician.
Oversleeping has been associated with thyroid disease, kidney and liver disease, depression and dementia. But don’t think you can catch a few winks and assume your health isn’t at risk because you were up before noon. People who get too much and too little sleep have a higher mortality rate. So don’t stay up late and set an alarm, OK?
Can Sleeping Too Much Cause Chronic Diseases
People who get more than 10 hours a night have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, the Mail Online warns. The study this news is based on also found that those who dont get enough sleep have an increased risk of disease.
The study in question used survey data, collected via telephone, from more than 50,000 middle aged and older adults from 14 US states. The survey included questions on whether the person had ever been told they had heart disease, stroke or diabetes and how many hours sleep they normally got.
The researchers found either sleeping more or less than the recommended amount was associated with increased likelihood of having these three chronic diseases.
A limitation of this study is its design it was a cross sectional study where data is gathered at a single point in time. This means it cannot show a direct cause and effect relationship between sleep and disease risk. For example, it could be the case that the symptoms of heart disease were causing some people to sleep more, rather than sleeping more leading to heart disease.
The study also failed to assess the various other factors that could influence both chronic disease risk and sleep history, such as lifestyle , family history, and other diagnosed physical and mental health illness.
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How Can I Improve My Sleep
There are many things you can try to help yourself sleep well.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that lets you unwind and sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
- Create a restful environment: bedrooms that are dark, cool and quiet are generally easier to fall asleep and stay asleep in.
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
- Exercise regularly but avoid vigorous exercise near bedtime if it affects your sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. They can stop you falling asleep and prevent deep sleep.
- Only use your bed for sleep or sex. Your bed should be associated with sleep.
- Avoid using screens in the evening, including on smartphones and tablets. The light from the screen can have a negative effect on sleep, and social media, news and games can all stimulate your brain and make you feel anxious.
- Write down your worries if you lie awake worrying about tomorrow. This can help put your mind at rest.
- If you can’t sleep, don’t worry about it. Get up and do something relaxing like listening to music or reading until you feel sleepy.
How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep
So how much is too much sleep? Well, it depends. Your sleep needs will vary over your lifetime, your sleep chronotype, age, activity level, general health, and lifestyle. The AASM recommends the following sleep amounts based on age that you can use as a general baseline:
- Newborns: 16-18 hours of sleep per night
- Preschoolers: 11-12 hours of sleep per night
- School-aged and teens: Around 10 hours of sleep per night
- Adults and seniors: 7-9 hours of sleep per night
Keep in mind that your personal sleep needs might deviate from the norm, but it doesnt automatically mean that theres an issue. If youve always been someone who needs a little extra sleep, then that doesnt necessarily point to an underlying problem. Instead, look for sudden changes in your sleep schedule. Were you normally getting 7 hours of sleep and feeling fine, but now you need closer to 10 and feel terrible? If thats the case, there may be an issue.
Likewise, there are often temporary causes of oversleeping, too. If youre sick, youre more likely to require some extra shuteye as your body tries to rest and build up the energy stores necessary to fight off an infection. Or, if youve run a marathon or experienced a high amount of acute stress, your body might naturally need more rest as a result to rebuild your brain and body. These one-off situations arent cause for concern.
Learn more about your own sleep and getpersonalized advice using the SleepScore app.
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What Causes Problems With Sleep
The things that affect our sleep differ for everyone. They can include:
- stresses or worries for example, issues with money, housing or work
- problems with where you sleep for example, if you sleep somewhere uncomfortable or you’re easily disturbed
- health conditions relating to sleep, also known as sleep disorders
- being a parent or carer
“It’s not possible to relax if you don’t have anywhere comfortable and safe at night. This leads to not sleeping and worrying most of the night.”
If problems with sleep are worrying you or affecting your day to day life, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who can give you a health check and help you access treatment and support. If you fill in a sleep diary, you could take this to your appointment to show your doctor.
“My sleep problems are more a case of bedtime procrastination than insomnia as such and, as a consequence, being too tired the next morning. I still haven’t found out what works for me as I can get to sleep once I do get to bed.”