New health post by guest blogger Ruddy Adam.
The Dangers to Your Health of Under-and Over-Sleeping
In prior studies we’ve shown that every person, except the rare bird who has what we’re going to start calling the Trump gene, needs either seven- or eight-hours of sleep every day to stay healthy and function properly during waking hours. The negative health results of not getting enough sleep are numerous and degenerative, and run from diabetes, depression, heart disease, and memory loss to other degenerative diseases that especially have negative effects on the brain and can cause one to crave the wrong foods and to be unable to concentrate on the subject at hand. A weak immune system is another problem brought about by lack of sleep, and under-sleepers are often sick several times more a year than those who get enough sleep; and it takes them longer to get over simple illnesses such as colds.
As far as the Trump gene goes, no more than ¼ of one-percent of the population is supposed to have this particular gene that protects them from aging and getting the degenerative diseases that the rest of us get when we don’t get enough sleep. These people are often very active, yet sleep only four- to five-hours per night—but nevertheless show no signs of excess aging due to not sleeping the amount of hours that the rest of us need: seven- to eight-hours and no more than eight and one-half hours per day. Donald Trump surely has that gene, because he’s been sleeping only 4- to 5-hours per night all his adult life, and surely does not look or act the 70-years he has lived; and he has no degenerative diseases. The man hops around like a cat!
But it’s not often common knowledge that oversleeping is as dangerous and perhaps moreso than not getting enough sleep. I know five chronic over-sleepers, and all five have the same degenerative diseases and each have memory lapses from time to time; and often have a difficult time staying on subject. Each is sick moreso every year than regular-sleepers, and it takes them longer to get over simple illnesses such as colds. Each one is regularly depressed, and each one is overweight. Each one is retired, and their over-sleeping has gotten much worse since they retired. All have become diabetics and have high blood pressure and memory loss since they retired, and their over-sleeping became more prevalent after retirement.
In respect to the brain and sleep, over-sleeping has definite negative effects on brain neurotransmitters that aid our mood, our attitude, our immune systems, and our memory. When we are young humans need more sleep; this state of being continues through age 21; and then our bodies start to reject our sleeping longer than about 8 ½ hours. Some people’s brains, however, do not mature in that manner; and those people generally develop a habit of staying asleep for several hours past what normal humans do. It therefore requires a good bit of discipline to get over-sleepers to stop.
Out of the five over-sleepers I know, I have been after all of them to stop for several years. Yet, only one has been able to do so and now sleeps a normal amount of time—but as far as his health goes he had already done enough damage to have heart disease, diabetes, and memory loss. The memory loss is much better now that he’s sleeping a normal amount of time and taking supplements especially for the brain; and he has been able to lose quite a bit of weight—without really trying. The diabetes and heart disease are still intact, however.
Everybody should watch themselves after they retire, because that is the time that those who tend to over-sleep seem to do the most damage to themselves. Don’t forget that ounce of prevention saying that comes from Ben Franklin, which is surely worth more than a pound of cure. Don’t get into the habit of over-sleeping. It’s very difficult to stop.
The other four over-sleepers have promised me numerous times they would set their clocks and not sleep over 8 ½ hours—but they’re soon right back sleeping far more than the 8 ½ hours they need. Two of them can easily stay in the bed 12- to 14-hours, and both are in serious denial about doing so.
It is a most difficult problem, and it results in a very vicious cycle. Over-sleeping causes lethargy, depression, and tends to make people want to eat foods that do not provide energy—but cause more lethargy, depression, and a craving for more of the same starchy, sugary foods that cause them to want to sleep and that bring on more depression. Which causes them to want to go to bed—and sleep long hours over what is needed and is normal. Which is not a cure for their ailments! It makes them worse!
It is true that many over-sleepers are what I call runners, or hiders, or the type of people who see negatives everywhere and run and jump in the bed for the purpose of hiding from and blocking out those real or perceived negatives. All drug addicts who are down freaks, that is, those who like to take drugs that get them drunk to the point of not being in reality so they don’t have to face reality have the same type of personalities. After—if they ever—get clean that’s something they have to work on; they have to have another outlet to hide from reality, because it’s almost impossible to change their personalities. They can’t make themselves face what they don’t like whether it’s real or imagined, and there’s always a combination of both of these with runners, the imagined and the genuine.
To be clear, the over-sleeper who is a runner blocks out the world by running to bed; the drug addict blocks out the world by running to drugs that block them from having to face the world. If you can ever get them to stop, which is obviously difficult, they must have some type of replacement in their lives to do so. They’re never going to stop seeing buggers behind every bush that may be real (but are mostly not, or at least are not as bad as they think they are) that they do not want to face. They need another outlet besides sleeping and drugging to block those terrible buggers out of their minds, because they’re never going to face them head-on!
This is absolutely true of two of the five that I personally know—that they are runners—which is 40%; but the other three seem to have gotten in the habit of over-sleeping (and became hooked on that vicious cycle) after retiring, though they tended to do it to some extent before retiring. They were bored, not having nearly as much to do in their lives, not having any real purpose in life, became depressed from sitting around doing nothing, and started going to bed to fight the depression—which in turn caused more depression and the other diseases that go with over-sleeping. Which in turn caused them to sleep more often and longer than normal.
So again, it’s important to keep active after retiring, and to watch your sleep pattern and not get hooked on over-sleeping. This activeness means mental and some physical. Certainly we’ve been over the tiny bit of exercise humans need to stay healthy; just moving around with a purpose is generally enough. Otherwise, very light exercise such as Yoga or light weight-lifting or bike-riding are excellent ways to keep the proper chemicals flowing in your brain and body. Slow, smooth walks are another way.
Slow walks, which we call nature walks, checking out the skies, the clouds, the scenery, while meditating on positive things, taking deep breaths, and praying is a wonderful stress outlet and is excellent brain therapy.
On the brain side, it takes more than it does to keep the body healthy. Remember: If the brain is healthy, then the body tends to follow! It takes variety in all things in life to keep that brain healthy: music, food, entertainment, stress outlets, socialization, reading, conversation, routes you travel, etc. If you’re the type that gets in a worm trail and does the very same thing every day after you retire (or before you retire!!), then you’re going to be susceptible to depression and memory loss.
For example, we vary our music regularly. We vary what we watch on TV. The people I converse with I have different subjects I speak about with each one. Our stress outlets range from riding and looking at the skies and landscapes to deep breathing, meditating on positive things, prayer, music listening, watching movies, and positive thinking. We vary our food intake every week, as we do the routes we travel to simple places such as the grocery store or the coffee shops we go to, which we also vary.
The Most Common Medical Problems Linked to Oversleeping
Diabetes & Heart Disease: Studies have shown that those who chronically (over time) sleep too long, usually over 8 ½ hours at one time (per 24-hour day), have a dramatic increase in the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Studies show that over-sleeping causes the body to want more starchy, sugary foods, due to over-sleeping disturbing the proper flow of the brain’s chemicals (neurotransmitters). Humans need fat and protein; they do not need starch and sugar. Although certain green vegetables are good for us, and so are some fruits, they are not mandatory for human health. Protein and fat are! If you’re lusting for starchy and sugary foods, then something has gone kafluey in your brain which is causing your body to crave foods it does not need—and which are bad for your health.
One study tested 59-thousand women and their sleep patterns. The results showed that women who slept 9- to 10-hours per night were 48% more likely to have heart disease than women who slept eight hours. Those who slept 11-hours or more jumped to over an 80% likelihood of having heart disease.
Obesity: Sleeping too much does definitely cause weight gain. The weight gain continues over each six-month period as long as individuals continue oversleeping. One recent study showed that people who slept longer than 8 ½ to nine hours were 21% more likely to become obese over a three-year period than were people who slept between seven and eight hours, which is the amount of sleep every person needs who is over 21-years old. This association between sleep and obesity remained the same even when food intake and exercise were taken into account. In other words, food intake and exercise were not relevant to the weight gain. Only over-sleeping was.
Again, over-sleeping hinders the body from burning calories at a normal rate and causes over-sleepers to crave more sugary, starchy foods, due to the over-sleeping disturbing the proper flow of the brain’s chemicals (neurotransmitters). This is obviously a recipe for a heath disaster!
Depression: Depression among over-sleepers is a lock; it’s always there. The only debate has been whether it is a cause or an effect. Most now believe it is an effect of over-sleeping, because studies of people who were not previously depressed became so only a short time after starting to over-sleep. Those who were depressed became more depressed after periods of over-sleeping.
Memory Loss and Concentration Problems: Depression damages the brain. Depression is an absolute among over-sleepers. The brain damage shows very quickly in memory loss and concentration problems. Being able to stay on subject is worse than the memory loss, though both are very noticeable in over-sleepers. The problems continue getting worse as long as the individual over-sleeps.
Early Death: Every single study on over-sleeping has found that people who sleep nine or more hours a night have significantly higher death rates than people sleeping the proper amount: seven to eight hours a night. They are far more likely to have debilitating strokes than normal sleepers.
Fact: Some people need 7-hours to function properly (that is, have good recall, short-term memory, be able to stay on a subject, and not crave starchy, sugary foods). I myself need 7-hours. Some need 8-hours to function properly, as El does. You should check yourself to see which one you need. Then, if you must, set your clock and get up after that amount of sleep. El needs the clock. I don’t. As a rule, after seven-hours I awaken ready to go, though I don’t sleep 7-hours at one time.
One way you can check whether you’re sleeping too long is to note the way you act when you do awaken. If you tend to lounge around in the bed after waking, then you’re sleeping too long, because over-sleeping causes over-sleepers to be lethargic. This has been absolutely the case with the five that I know. Another way is to face the fact that you’re having a difficult time remembering things over the short-term. Then check your sleep pattern. People who jump subjects during conversations without so noting don’t even realize they’re doing it, but if you’re talking to me and do that I’m going to note it—for the purpose of getting you to realize you’re doing it. It’s a bad thing to do, and jumping subjects in mid-conversation without warning is often a sign of a mental problem, which can be brought about by over- or under-sleeping.
I recommend every person over age 50 try Lexapro, because it is the best brain-mood drug out there. There will be others. We are in a different world of drugs today than we were just 15-years ago. They are better. They are safer.
Not by any means all of them—but certainly some of them. Lexapro is not a cure-all; it is, however, excellent for light depression and anxiety problems. It will not keep a person from seeing buggers behind every bush. Ask your doctor about it if you so desire, and especially if you have any anxiety or depression. If it does not help you, you can quit it—no problem!
If your blood sugar is regularly running over 100, you may want to ask your doctor to give you something, such as Metformin, to get it lower. Life Extension Foundation recommends keeping your blood sugar levels in the 70s. If yours is running over 100, then you may be headed to Type II Diabetes. If you wait until you get Type II, you’re never going to get your blood sugar to stay in the 80s, much less the 70s. The higher the blood sugar, the more it damages your brain. You want to head that bastard child off before it gets in your life, because it is a destroyer, for sure. Once it takes hold, it is a major monster to get rid of, or simply to hold down. Insulin is the next step; and that is a path you don’t not want to go on.
Brain supplements are now plentiful, but which one will work for you is something that you have to determine by trial and error. They can’t hurt you. So if you want the list, let us know. Everybody over age 50 should be taking some brain supplements. After age 49, your positive brain chemicals stop producing as they did before that age; and the odds are you need something to help them along. If you don’t do something you’re going to become more and more negative and more and more cynical, which in turn will damage your brain and cause more health problems, both bodily and mentally.
I remain for our health: Ruddy Adam