Risk factors are anything that raises the chances of an individual to the likelihood of developing a particular disease or injury. Having diabetes in the family, for instance, is a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes. Scientists at Central Michigan University and various other research facilities in the United States and Canada compared the risk of heart disease and several possible factors in 2335 participants with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

Their study reported on in 2016 in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found the sleep duration and smoking are significant risk factors. A total of 14.2 percent of participants had coronary heart disease. Factors found among the participants with heart disease included …

  • gender – male,
  • advancing age,
  • a history of smoking,
  • long sleep duration in women,
  • having high blood pressure, and
  • high cholesterol readings.

According to the study, too much sleep is just as bad as too little, at least in women. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the United States recommends seven to eight hours of sleep for adults. According to a Gallup poll taken in 2013, 40 percent of Americans get too little sleep, but 30 percent probably sleep too much. According to the Prevention magazine, sleeping or staying in bed more than eight hours raises your risk of heart disease by 34 percent …

  • too much sleep can mean too little physical activity, which is in itself a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • obesity is another danger of staying in bed too long.
  • too much sleep has also been linked to premat death, probably due to inflammation.

Depression and oversleeping have been linked, but a cause and effect relationship is difficult to define. Does too much sleep lead to depression, or do depressed individuals tend to sleep too much? We all know how hard it can be to get out of bed just after a tragic event. But can the opposite be true as well? More research is needed.

Certainly getting up and going for a walk after 7 to 8 hours of sleep is of benefit to most people. If you are getting more than the recommended amount of sleep, try setting your alarm clock to wake you up 7 to 8 hours after bedtime. Get up, wake up your dog, and go for a morning stroll. Physical activity is good for the whole body, and it can improve your emotional health as well.