Are you sleeping too much?

Are you sleeping too much?

Sometimes, you just want to stay in bed as long as you possibly can.

But a study published in the journal Neurology this week suggests that sleeping too long or napping regularly could put you at increased risk to have a stroke.

In the study, participants’ relative risk for stroke rose 23% if they slept nine hours or more per night, compared to people who slept seven or eight hours.

Strokes are among the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Should you immediately go reset your alarms?

Dr. Demetrius Lopes, director Advocate Health Care’s stroke program, says you “have to be cautious interpreting these preliminary results.”

The study finds a relationship between people who sleep longer and strokes, but it doesn’t prove that sleeping longer causes strokes. It could be that people who are already at higher risk for stroke tend to sleep longer.

“It’s important to focus on the quality of sleep, not necessarily length,” Dr. Lopes says. “Make sure to create a routine of exercise and physical activity during the day. Create a daily schedule for time to go to bed.”

Sleep is something to consider, but some other factors more clearly raise your risk for stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, whether you smoke and your age. These are issues you should talk about with your doctor.

As for sleep, Dr. Lopes has some tips.

“About 2-3 hours before going to bed, start winding down. Avoid any digital media such as phones, tablets, computers or TV,” he says. “Also stay away from large and heavy meals. A good night of sleep will make you feel well rested and motivated in the morning.”

Want to learn more about your risk for stroke? Take a free online quiz by clicking here. And if you’re worried you might have sleep apnea, you can learn more about your risk here.

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About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.