Today is National Lazy Day! It's touted as a day of rest; a day to do zip, nada, nothing. It's a day to sleep in and just be a couch potato.
Most of us need a day like this every once in awhile with all the stress that can build up throughout our busy lives. But is sleeping in more than just once in awhile good for you?
Most doctors agree getting quality sleep is important for your health. You not only need it to stay alert and focused throughout the day, you also need sleep to recharge your body, recuperate, and recover from the wear and tear of the day. But, can you get too much sleep? Turns out, sleeping in can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
Pros of Sleeping In
Inadequate sleep has been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer, obesity, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Sleeping in may reduce not only your stress level but also your cancer risk, according to Mercyhurst University. You put your body into a state of stress when you're not getting enough sleep. By getting plenty of sleep, you're more energetic and alert. You’re less likely to overeat to gain energy when you get the proper amount of sleep that your body and mind need.
Getting eight hours of sleep, or sometimes more, is safe and beneficial for your heart. When you get less than seven hours of sleep every night, it puts you at risk for sleep deprivation effects and disease.
Cons of Sleeping In
Much like when you don't get enough sleep, oversleeping can play havoc with your circadian rhythm (your 24-hour biological clock that drives mental, physical and behavior changes). When you sleep longer than normal, you throw your regular circadian rhythm off unknowingly. This leads to those drowsy, lethargic, and fatigued feelings you get when your body doesn't know what time it is. It's similar to when you're experiencing jet lag.
Multiple medical problems have been linked to oversleeping including heart disease, diabetes, reduced mental functioning, increased inflammation, and even increased risk of death. Two other factors, strongly associated with oversleeping and carefully noted by researchers, are low socioeconomic status and depression.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The National Sleep Foundation published its recommended sleep ranges guidelines from newborns to older adults. Here's what they have to say:
- Newborns (ages 1 to 3 months) need around 14 to 17 hours daily
- Infants (ages 4 to 11 months) need around 12 to 15 hours daily
- Toddlers (ages 1 to 2 years) need around 11 to 14 hours daily
- Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5 years) need around 10 to 13 hours daily
- School-aged Kids (ages 6 to 13 years) need around 9 to 11 hours daily
- Teenagers (ages 14 to 17 years) need around 8 to 10 hours daily
- Younger adults (ages 18 to 25 years) need around 7 to 9 hours daily
- Adults (ages 26 to 64 years) need around 7 to 9 hours daily
Individuals are encouraged by the National Sleep Foundation to make their sleep schedules according to their healthy range recommended above. These healthy ranges are also a good starting point for you to talk with your healthcare provider about your recommended sleep schedule.
So, although it's usually a good idea to give yourself a day to get lazy and sleep in, you now know that it's not wise to do it all the time.