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Some news to sleep on

So, you all know that getting too little sleep or not getting enough good quality sleep is related to poorer health outcomes, meaning a higher risk not only of developing lots of chronic illnesses but also of dying prematurely.

But it’s also the case that sleeping too many hours is related to higher risks of the aforementioned problems.

And the latest evidence for that connection comes from a huge 30,000-person study from China that found that people who consistently sleep more than 9 hours a night and people who nap for more than 90 minutes at a time, which believe it or not, is supposed to be common in China, are at significantly higher risk of suffering a stroke.

And if they do both – sleep more than 9 hours every night and nap more than 90 minutes every day – they have nearly double the stroke risk of people who sleep more normal hours.

What’s the connection between long sleep and poorer health?

Well, observational studies such as this one are not set up to find the reason for that connection but common sense tells you that at lest two factors play a significant role in this link.

First, among the group of people who sleep a lot are many who probably have chronic health problems – chronic health problems make you more tired, after all – and although studies like this are supposed to make adjustments for that, clearly that’s very hard to do well (lots of those long-sleeping people, for example, may not even know they have other health problems).

Also, if you are only awake 14 hours a day as opposed to 16 or even 18 hours, you clearly have much less time to be active enough to lower your risk of problems such as strokes.

Anyway, bottom line is easy: If you are a long sleeper, find out if you may have something to account for your need for excessive sleep, and when you do manage to be up, make extra sure to be extra active.