Long Sleep Causes Nightmares?

Sleep deprivation has drastic consequences on health. Short sleep can lead to hypertension, diabetes, higher levels of bad cholesterol, obesity, brain fogginess, memory loss, inability to learn and retain new information, poor judgement and a host of other health problems. 

But did you know that sleeping for long hours is also not healthier either? 

In any case, it is not a healthy practice to loll in bed for long hours. Anything in excess is always bad, including sleep.
While there is no conclusive proof to show that long sleepers are shy, introverts or over-anxious types, long sleepers are at a risk of several other health issues such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes etc. 

Sleeping for long hours is bad for health

A recent research has also found that sleeping for more than nine hours a night is associated with having bad dreams / nightmares.

Stephanie Rek at the University of Oxford and her colleagues performed one of the largest ever studies of nightmares in the general population.

As expected, the team found that worry and anxiety about the future, or about doing things wrong, was most strongly associated with the frequency and severity of nightmares. Worrying before bedtime obviously feeds negative dream content, increasing the chance of nightmares.

Key findings of the study:
Results reveal that sleeping for more than nine hours a night is associated with nightmares, but does not affect their severity.

Increased nightmare frequency is thought to be due to more sleep meaning a person spends longer in the late-night REM phase, which is when unpleasant dreams are most likely to occur.

Nightmare frequency and severity are also associated with worrying, hallucinations and paranoia.
Yet, it may be that nightmares cause disturbed sleep, which exacerbates pre-existing worries.

Study author Stephanie Rek said: 'Worry can be effectively treated using cognitive behavioural approaches. 

'It would be interesting to do more research to see whether these alleviate nightmares.'

No association was found between alcohol use or exercise and nightmares, despite previous studies finding booze increases the amount of REM.

Unfortunately, the team didn’t look at the influence of food on nightmares.

I had written about repercussions of long sleep in the post "Sleeping for long hours is not good for health" and interestingly, received flak for that from a commenter. Here's what  the commenter had to say about it; I am also attaching my reply to him/ her.

long sleeping article comments

Now that you know sleeping for long hours  has yet another disadvantage  - bad dreams and nightmares, I'm sure, you'll think of ways to get rid of this habit!

So if you want to cut down on your nightmares, which also aggravates worries and anxieties, do not sleep for more than 9 hours. 

And if you simply can't do without more than 9-10 hours of shut-eye, then something's not right and you may need to consult a doctor or a sleep therapist and discuss your sleep problems with him/her.

Also read: Do you get bad dreams a few days before your period?

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  1. Dr ASHA3:56 PM

    People who sleep longer each night are more likely to have scary and disturbing dreams, negative emotions and anxieties that run through your brain when you’re awake may also run through your brain while you’re sleeping, possibly contributing to scary dreams

  2. Srilaxmi3:58 PM

    it might be possible that narrowing your sleep window can help you cut down on bothersome nightmares experts recommend between 7 to 9 hours a night. Might be a good habit to get into anyway, since sleeping too long is actually linked to its own host of health risks

  3. Soukhya4:00 PM

    A cognitive style such as worry may be a potential causal factor in triggering nightmares and exacerbating nightmare severity, over and above negative affect alone.

  4. Expert4:01 PM

    Worrying about the future — especially before bed — was the biggest cause of nightmares


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