While many of us are indulging in the luxury of a few extra hours of sleep during the holiday period, we may not realise that there will likely be consequences down the line.
Although it may seem like the best way to recuperate from a busy year at work or the chaos of holiday preparations, sleeping longer than the recommended seven or eight hours can actually result in grogginess and low energy throughout the day.
Each sleep cycle lasts approximately 80 to 100 minutes, so adding an hour or more to our nightly sleep routine often means waking up in the midst of a deep sleep cycle, leading to a post-hibernation hangover. The third sleep cycle, during which sleep is deepest, has the greatest impact on how we feel during the day. Following the third cycle is the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, when dreams occur.
The freedom of weekends without work can sometimes deceive us into believing that sleeping longer on Friday and Saturday nights can compensate for the sleep deficit during the week. However, experts assert that this is not how sleep truly works.
Sleeping for more than eight hours per night has been associated with various mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Approximately 15 percent of individuals with depression are known to oversleep.
While oversleeping can have negative health consequences, it can also indicate an underlying condition such as sleep apnea, which disrupts the quality of sleep throughout the night, or hypersomnia, a condition characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness.
Experts advise adhering to a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for a similar duration of sleep each night without over-indulging a few nights a week. While napping can be beneficial, it’s important to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” napping. Experts recommend either a short nap of around 25 minutes or a longer 90-minute nap, which allows the brain to complete an entire sleep cycle.