Thanks to all the data science have gathered over the years; we know that not getting enough sleep leads to a shorter life. Sleep deprivation is one of the worst things you could do, as it leads to many psychological and physiological problems.
Depression, anxiety, memory problems, low concentration, heart disease, weight gain. These are just some of the problems you could be facing, not even realizing they stem from lack of sleep. So if you want to avoid all these potential problems, you should be getting your 7- 9 hours of rest every day.
That’s the sweet spot. But there’s one more thing that the data has also shown us. And that is the relationship between sleep and mortality risk is not linear. You see, the more and more sleep you get doesn’t mean that your risk is lower and lower. Otherwise, you could sleep for 23 hours per day and be almost immortal. Instead, once the average sleep amount surpasses 9 hours, there is an upward hook in mortality risk.
Like sleeping less than 6 hours every day, there is a higher chance of premature death if you sleep over 9 hours daily. So what is going on here? Are we supposed to be aiming for precisely 8 hours to live a long and healthy life? Not quite.
Let’s imagine a statue in the park.
Every single day some kids come around and play with the statue. They climb on it, throw balls at it, and at the end of the day, there is some slight damage to it: nothing drastic, just a few hits and scratches. But occasionally, they play too hard and cause a crack.
However, at the end of every single day, when the kids are done playing, an adult comes around and tries to fix the statue.
Sometimes this fixer has 8 hours to do his work in full. Other times he’s interrupted by a siren that signals him to stop his work, so he doesn’t get to finish his job. Now to explain what this whole analogy means: You are the statue in the park. And those kids that come every day to play are physical and psychological stressors you face daily.
The fixer that comes around to fix the statue, that’s sleep. And the siren that interrupts the fixer from completing his job is an alarm clock. Sleep is the best regeneration tool you have for both your body and mind. But it has to be noted that the fixer doesn’t do his job correctly. You see, he leaves some scratches behind every day. That’s aging for you.
You’ll die, no matter what. However, if you let the fixer do his job to the best of his ability, that will happen
later. But if you don’t let him fix the statue properly every day, more and more cracks will begin to pile up.
This results in a higher chance of the statue collapsing sooner because the regeneration wasn’t done optimally.
Aka earlier death. That’s why I highly recommend you sleep without an alarm clock, so your body has the option to recover fully.
You don’t want the fixer to stop working because of the alarm. You want him to stop working when his job is done.
Now you might be confused. If all this is true, then we should be getting as much sleep as possible.
But then why do studies show us that sleeping longer than 9 hours is linked to an earlier death?
The reason is simple.
Illness. You see, while some statues get a small number of hits and scratches, a select few statues get bashed with a hammer. Repeatedly That’s an illness for you. That means that the fixer has a lot more work to do, and he has
to work longer as well.
Meaning you will need to sleep longer than average. We know from evidence that sickness activates a robust immune response, thus initiating more sleep. It is merely that some illnesses, such as cancer, can be too powerful even for the mighty sleep regeneration to overcome, no matter how much sleep is obtained. The illusion created is that too much sleep leads to an early death.
But correlation doesn’t mean causation. In reality, the sickness was just too much despite all efforts from the beneficial sleep extension. Sadly the fixer couldn’t keep up. That being said, you should get as much sleep as you require to feel rested.
So far, no biological mechanism has been discovered that would make sleep in any way harmful. And there is no single right amount of sleep that applies to everyone. Sleep is highly individualistic, but 7-9 hours seems to be optimal for most people. However, sleeping for over 9 hours every single day could be an indicator that something is wrong.
As I’ve mentioned, different illnesses activate more sleep.
But before you start panicking, you should note that kids and teenagers need more sleep than adults. An average teenager should be getting 9,5 hours of sleep on average for optimal recovery and development. So it’s normal for them to sleep more. Also, when someone is physically active, they need more rest as well. Elite athletes, for example, get 10-12 hours of sleep during their competitive season.
That’s because they stress themselves physically much more daily, and they need more time to regenerate themselves.
So if you’re exercising regularly, sleeping more is expected.
The problem becomes when you are repeatedly sleeping more than 9 hours, and you still feel tired and exhausted during the day. That’s usually an indicator that something is wrong. You might want to visit a doctor and try to identify what’s causing it. But don’t try to limit your sleep. The sickest individuals should be sleeping longer to battle against illness using the regenerative benefits sleep offers. That being said, if you sleep a lot, it means your body needs it to repair itself.
So don’t skip on sleep.
It’s the best regeneration tool you have.
Thanks for Reading.