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Too Much Sleep Can Be Bad for Your Health

New study says that excessive sleep is associated with a risk of coronary heart disease

spinner image Man lying down in bed, trying to avoid waking up by covering his head with the pillow to block the sunlight.
Josef Lindau, Getty Images

Sleepyheads, beware: Getting more than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night on a regular basis is now linked to a higher risk of premature death — more than getting too little sleep, according to a new study published this month in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at the University of Keele in England reviewed 74 studies involving more than 3 million people and discovered that those who reported they slept 10 hours a day had a 30 percent greater risk of dying early; those who spent more than 10 hours a day between the sheets had a 56 percent increased risk of death from stroke and a 49 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

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The amount of shut-eye and the quality of that sleep has not been traditionally associated with a risk for cardiovascular disease, which causes over 780,000 deaths each year in the United States. Researchers say that excessive sleep can be a precursor to a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea or heart disease. 

Chun Shing Kwok, lead researcher and clinical lecturer at Keele University's Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, told England's Guardian newspaper that a change in sleep habits should be reported to your doctor: “Abnormal sleep is a marker of elevated cardiovascular risk and greater consideration should be given in exploring both duration and sleep quality during patient consultations.”

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