Color me highly skeptical that there are negative effects associated with sleeping 8.5+ hours, up to say, 11 hours. Beyond 11 hours of sleep, I can see an argument being made for physical morbidity from lack of movement etc. But 8-9 hours of sleep nightly - my guess would be that people who get only 7 hours of sleep tend to be more successful, have jobs and families, and access to health care. Whereas those sleeping 10 hours a night are less likely to have the income to get health care when necessary.
In other words, I'd be interested to see studies which test the hypothesis that sleep deprivation has a causal effect on morbidity, while excessive sleep only has a correlation.
I was diagnosed with minor sleep apnea, and my doctor prescribed an anti-snoring mouthguard (a $1000 device that is basically a mouthguard with a screw in it... ugghhh). Costs aside, the device works, and I've been getting LESS sleep recently.
Why? Because 7ish hours of sleep is all I need now... because I'm not getting minor "self-wakeup events" during night. Before this mouthguard, I needed 9ish hours of sleep to feel rested.
The mouthguard definitely works (for my case anyway. I did some research and its apparently because I've got a large tongue or something, which means my snoring / sleep apnea could be cured by a mouth-guard forcing my jaw into a different position). Apparently, other cases of sleep apnea can only be solved with a CPAP, while still other cases of sleep apnea can be solved with a simple "sleeping backpack" (to prevent sleeping on your back).
Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea is associated with longer sleep, less-restful sleep, and a variety of ailments like obesity and high-blood pressure. I don't think cause-and-effect has been figured out yet (maybe obesity causes sleep apnea, or maybe vice versa).
It is quite possible that excessive sleep is correlated with a variety of sleep-issues, like Sleep Apnea. People who fix their sleeping issues may live longer, higher quality lives.
I also had a take-home sleep study, consultation fees, etc. etc. on there. I think that maybe I just didn't understand my options as a consumer and I did this suboptimally from a financial point of view.
In any case, the overall industry and regulations DON'T want you to be self-diagnosing things. I think it makes sense to go into a sleep doctor, and first order a take-home sleep study. You pretty much get some weird device hooked up into your nose and a few sensors on your head, and they'll take... some kind of sleep measurements. (Brainwaves? The nose thing probably was recording my breathing patterns, I dunno, I'm not a doctor. They did say a microphone was in the device too, so I guess they're recording the noises I make when I sleep).
I know some people with more extreme conditions may need to do a full-scale sleep study in a specific room. But these are more expensive. Its pretty much a hotel-room, except doctors are measuring all sorts of things while you sleep.
After those measurements, the sleep doctor probably will try and figure out which device is appropriate for you. Its pretty clear that the Somnoguard AP2 can only solve minor sleep apnea issues caused by tongue blocking during sleep: it just shifts the jaw forward by about 3mm to 5mm or so and holds it there during sleep.
In any case, I'm overall happy that I've got my problem fixed. My only regrets is that I'm not really used to interacting with doctors. So I'm pretty sure I could have optimized my gameplan better and possibly negotiated a cheaper bill. But at least I've gained experience... I'll know what to do when my next health issue comes up.
You should buy one like this:
I am sure you can find some in this style for even cheaper, maybe around $20. I had sleep apnea for the last 18 months, which got so bad that I couldn't hold down a job or do much of anything. I would sleep around 14 hours a day, which sounds crazy, but every time I hit REM I would just wake up. So, it would take around 12-14 hours to finally accumulate enough REM to not feel totally fatigued. I would typically wake up around 3pm and just loathe around without much energy waiting for the following night's choking spell.
I tried it all. CPAP, sleeping with tennis balls on my back, a backpack, sleeping face down on a massage table, sleeping upside-down (don't try that). Anyways, for me, the mouthguard I linked was the item which provided the most relief. I went as far as to jury-rig the device into extruding my lower jaw out even further than it was designed to by using some screws to separate the top and bottom even more extensively. It actually gave me a terrible underbite, because at night the pressure from my lower jaw pushed my top teeth back further into my mouth. But, I was able to sort of sleep, and it probably saved my life. Sleep apnea is no joke.
I ended up getting three surgeries, the last of which was just last week and from which I am still recovering. It feels like I am finally cured, and boy, does it feel good to finally sleep.
edit - Oh and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out. I have several lifetime's worth of experience in this area now after working so hard to have this resolved. Email is in my bio.
why did you need three surgeries? i had double jaw surgery done and while it improved my jaw, the unresolved issue is my poor TMJ, which the surgeon pointed out. when i sleep on my back, my jaw still falls open and my tongue slides back into my airway.
i am hesitant to use the mouth guard because i don’t want my upper jaw sliding backward. my solution now is to side sleep. help!
That's pretty insane that you had that surgery; I heard that's one of the most intense treatments they have. Was it specifically for the sleep apnea?
I am very familiar with the jaw falling open/tongue sliding back. I tried a headstrap + mouth taping + mouth guard combo for a while which was often able to keep the jaw in place, but it's finnicky, and sometimes slips, causing the jaw to fall back in deep sleep. Another option I tried were the 'tongue retainers', which pull the tongue forward, but, from the literature I've read, they may or may not prevent the base of the tongue from collapsing backwards. Very subject dependent; I didn't have good results, personally.
Anyways, for my personal case, it turned out that I had enlarged lingual tonsils which were pressing on my epiglottis and causing it to collapse back into my throat. My epiglottis was 'floppy' and collapsed over the airway particularly in REM. The treatment was a lingual tonsillectomy. After that treatment I still didn't feel better and had another endoscopy with a different surgeon which uncovered that my soft palette was collapsing; the treatment for which was this,  a treatment which essentially sewed my soft palette down and removed my palatine tonsils.
The whole thing was a nightmare. I'm 5'7 140lbs so maybe 4-5% body fat, in shape, 27 y'o. Outwardly in shape, basically. I'd go to doctors telling them I was not able to achieve refreshing sleep, and they'd tell me I was either depressed or had some psychological disorder. Around four our five dozen doctors told me this. My cries fell completely on deaf ears. To confound things even further, I had four in-lab sleep tests and around 5-6 at-home sleep tests, almost all of which were completely absent of sleep apnea. When pushing for another endoscopy/surgical remedy, one surgeon said, "why would I operate on you? you sleep better than I do." I wanted to cry; so frustrating.
The practitioner that you choose matters; as there are relatively few in the world who understand the complex anatomy of that area and can suggest the particular surgical treatment that's most likely to relieve your symptoms. You'd be surprised to find out that most sleep apnea surgeons provide the same blanket surgery, the UPPP, to all of their patients, independent of the patient's particular problem areas/issues. Not to say UPPP doesn't work for anyone, but, it only addresses correcting a very particular subset of problematic tissues, when the patient may be having collapse in an entirely different part of their airway. The over prescription of the UPPP and most doc's reluctance to attempt to properly diagnose a patient's particular issue is a major reason as to why surgery is often seen as ineffective in sleep apnea treatment and cpap is still the 'golden standard'. I think this will change as cutting-edge research continues to slowly disseminate through the field; but it will probably be a long time before your average sleep surgeon becomes versed in cutting edge techniques.
I am absolutely convinced that Dr Eric Kezirian in Los Angeles saved my life and couldn't recommend him more highly. He has a blog with tons of useful information  if you're interested. Even better, I don't think there was a single email I sent him that he didn't respond to within an hour. It's a crazy dichotomy to have an expert surgeon who is also highly available and helpful.
Anyways I hope you find relief.
CPAP was my salvation.
Glad to see it works for some people, but for me I felt scammed by the doctor that after a while simply said "you should find a way to control your jaw while asleep, it's a mental thing".
Interestingly enough, at the end of my sleep study the technician commented to me that I appeared to have a deviated septum and perhaps I should have that looked at. The doctor who reviewed my study didn't mention that and never suggested I see an ENT for a second opinion.
Instead, I was pitched an implanted device that would ostensibly "cure" the apnea (no thank you!).
I did see an ENT, did get surgery and now sleep soundly. I've never gone back to that sleep center where they were only interested in extracting as much money from me as possible.
Instead I bought a "boil-n-bite" mouthguard off of amazon and it worked great! ... for about 6 months or so.
At that point, I went back and pursued a CPAP and by changing from the over-the-nose headgear to the nasal pillows I finally found something that works for me.
("nasal pillows" - a euphamism if I've ever heard one)
I'm guessing theyre not going to work as well as GPs but at $10 for a handful I'll give it a shot.
Sleep Apnea is literally when you (mildly) choke-yourself while sleeping and can't breath. If the mouth-guard falls off easily and causes a choking hazard, then the mouthguard is worse than the disease.
I know there's online discussion about chin-straps moving the jaw forward. That's closer to something I think I'd be willing to experiment with. I don't see much potential choking hazards or other problems.
Also mouth guard don't cause choking hazard.
I had a dentist prescribed/adjusted MAD which cost $400. I hated that thing. I purchased a $10 nightguard at Target, less intrusive, smaller, more flimsy and flexible version, at target. It works great and last 6 months.
In any case, a lot of the mouthguards are just bruxism / teeth grinding protection. I'll let you know that "pushing the jaw forward" is how my device works.
Other people have linked cheaper stuff from various places online which seem like they push the jaw forward. But most dental-guards I see at Target / CVS / etc. etc. are just bruxism protection, probably not designed for sleep apnea.
Now that I know what I have and can do comparison shopping, the thing that has gotten good reviews seems to be "ZQuiet". Seems to be well reviewed by 3rd party websites, and not super-expensive. $80 or so. https://zquiet.com/
Another person upthread claims they got good results from something from Amazon, but I couldn't find much information about that company or website.
CPAP works well for me (when I use it). ADHD -> low conscientiousness -> not always using the CPAP if there's a minor obstacle. E.g. unfolded laundry on the bed can derail me to the couch since I'm usually very tired / low willpower by the time I go to bed.
I've been thinking of a machine vision project: the system yells at me to get up and go to bed if I fall asleep on the couch. Externalize your rationality through cybernetics.
(Does that make this a discouraged “me too” post…?)
TFA correlates _more_ sleep with increased mortality, but barely speculates on cause, and lumps too much, and not enough sleep together in discussion. With respect to the question of how more sleep might be bad, the article states: "[...]one can speculate that these folk, who have lower moods and more worry, might struggle to get to sleep or to get up promptly in the morning. Lower scores on extraversion were indirectly linked with increased risk of death, thanks to an association with greater daytime feelings of fatigue (perhaps extraverts’ greater daytime activity levels makes it easier for them to get a satisfying night’s sleep, but this is speculation)."
Anecdotally, I think sleep deprivation increases my neuroticsism and decreases my extroversion, so I feel like positive feedback could exist. This makes it harder to do the things that seem to me to improve sleep and mood, like aerobic exercise, exposing oneself to natural light cycles, and other people, and keeping a consistent personal routine. I feel like I have spent periods in a meta-stable state of insomnia after pushing myself too hard because of crunch time, international travel, etc.
I suspect that "excess" sleep may be correlated with chronic health problems like mood disorders (like depression), or auto-immune disorder. These problems are known to be suggestively correlated with each other, and also with sleep problems.
This stuff seems complicated enough to be pretty hard to figure out, and I think you are right to be skeptical about the direction of causality. Pretty sure not sleeping enough is still bad though.
The study says "To formally test mediation [...] calculate indirect effects similar to the Sobel method." I think this refers to a paper "Direct and indirect effects in linear structural equation models" by Michael Sobel. I don't understand enough to say what the limitations are of this method -- but it does sound like rather more advanced causal analysis than you typically see in a medical paper.
I'm guessing that the limitation of the Sobel method is "garbage model in, garbage causal inferences out". It'd be interesting to hear from someone who knows the field, who can say whether the model used in this paper was rich enough to test your ideas (about excess sleep versus insufficient sleep).
If you currently sleep <7 or >9 hours dont take this as a prescription to change your sleep pattern.
I would assume there is an underlying cause to your sleep needs and that solving the underlying cause is the true path to longevity. For example if you're sleeping more because you're recovering from burnout or a major surgery. Then taking the sleep to speed recovery is (i presume) a better choice than artificially restricting sleep in the name of "longevity" ...
So if you sleep 7, 8 or 9 hours you DO need to take this as a prescription to change your sleep pattern?
I'd hope that such studies on sleep control for income, employment, education and what not.
I think you may be having a selection bias here: there is a lot of people who sleep 8-9 hours at night who are in high income brackets (I think that’s what you mean by “successful”, even though that’s a debatable metric).
The healthcare problem is a US-specific one, although probably if you are in a union job you’re likely to be getting decent healthcare while working hours that let you sleep.
I'd disagree. Numerous studies with large sample sizes show the average sleep in America is 6 hours and change. I'd need to see some hard evidence that there are "a lot" of people, that is, a statistically significant number of high-earners, who sleep 8-9 hours.
In fact, there is evidence to the contrary of your claim:
>Turns out, the difference is pretty negligible — the "successful" people get 12 minutes less than the average American. According to this 2013 Gallup poll, the average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep every night.
I track my sleep as best I can, and nearly-seven is sustainable, while a bit more than six on a consistent basis leaves me feeling pretty wrung out.
The extra 45 minutes we're talking about here are likely to be mostly REM, given how intensely I dream when I start napping to make up a deficit.
This seems inaccurate on the high end. Under 6 hours has repeatedly shown to be bad. But over 8 hrs and 5 min? If the average REM sleep cycle is 1.5 hrs, then your only "perfect" window is 7.5 hrs of sleep - 9 would be detrimental?
Other data suggests otherwise:
First of all, the hours of sleep measured is not necessarily sleep end to end. It's also getting away to go to the bathroom, lying down a little before getting asleep, etc which can easily eat the extra 30 mins.
And even actual interrupted end to end sleep is not just end to end full REM cycles -- such that it has to divide perfectly to 1.5. Nor are REM cycles all exactly the same, and all exactly 1.5 hours.
The first cycle in a night takes less time--at 70 to 100 minutes--and has the longest N3 and N4, and shortest REM interval. As the sleep progresses, the N3 and N4 phases shorten and REM lengthens, as the overall cycle for 2nd and subsequent cycles extends to 90 to 120 minutes. Later cycles may omit N3 and N4 entirely. The only phases in which you are unlikely to awaken from external stimulus are N3 and N4, so by your last cycle of the night, you are more likely to awaken at any time from an alarm clock or a sunbeam on the face.
It may be that N3 and N4 are used to shut down the body, to perform a physical cleanup of the brain and other organs for their metabolic waste products, and then REM is used to clear out short term memory and compress information from it for storage in long term memory. If so, then the body is essentially reserving the first 160-220 minutes in a night for physical cleanup before allowing a significant REM phase to happen. As REM apparently represents as much or greater brain activity as a waking brain, the NREM phases could then clean up the metabolic waste products from the previous REM phase.
If you take the first 3 phases as a double-NREM, middle cycles as REM-NREM, and the final cycle as REM-wake, your time interval math may work out differently.
Let's say you get in bed, lights off, at 11 PM and wake up at 7 AM. Most people would call that an eight hour night of sleep. But in reality it takes the average person 20-30 minutes before actually falling into sleep. The average person also wakes up four or more times a night, sometimes for ten minutes or longer. Often we don't even remember all the times we get up. A lot of people also awaken before their scheduled wakeup times, and spend 20+ minutes in pre-dawn twilight.
Add it altogether and an "eight hour night" may actually only constitute 6.5 hours of actual physiological sleep. The only way to know for sure how much sleep you get is to use a device specifically designed for the purpose.
"Add it altogether and an "eight hour night" may actually only constitute 6.5 hours of actual physiological sleep. ".
According to the study 9 hrs of sleep is bad for your health (too much sleep). But that 9 hrs may actually constitute 8 hrs of actual physiological sleep. So 8 hrs of actual sleep is too much and is bad?
It's simple, but surprisingly effective. I figure, all the studies in the world are nice, but listening to the signals my body gives me is probably the best approach. 30 minutes is about the length of one more REM cycle, and I tend to find that I dream most vividly during those snooze sessions, and wake up remarkably refreshed by the end of them.
I would recommend the Oura ring with few reservations.
That's probably the best device for home-use. But sleep labs are using EEGs, cameras, microphones and puls oxymeters for a reason. Don't expect medical-grade results from a home-use device.
Less accurate are several kinds of fitness trackers/smart watches, very inaccurate are smartphone apps.
I use a Huawei Watch 2, and it tracks pretty accurately from what I've seen. Other Wear OS devices are probably similar.
When you do a hard workout for the first few times, there are a lot of neural adaptations. These result in very quick gains of strength within the first few weeks, I think mostly due to better muscle recruitment. At the same time, these neural adaptations are taxing on the brain/CNS. This is especially true of exercises that require intramuscular coordination. In my personal experience it makes it very hard to fall asleep when I learn a new, complex power exercise (e.g. campusing ). It also seems logical that you need more sleep for those neural adaptations to take place.
Now, once you are experienced in the exercise, there are much less neural adaptations, hence the perceived plateau in strength gains. The way you make gains now, is mostly through muscle growth (hypertrophy) which takes much longer but doesn't tax the CNS as much. This might explain your observation of needing less sleep after intense workouts, now that you have more experience in your sport. Try a new intense exercise and you will likely experience the above described process again. Just don't injure yourself!
Applying that line of thought to the article, if you have a health issue that is causing you to lose sleep (e.g. due to pain or hormonal issues), is it unreasonable to think that might increase your neuroticism or decrease your extraversion?
I've no idea if anyone has ever managed to determine the direction of causation here, seems like these longitudinal studies don't have the ability to disambiguate.
The book actually talks about how psychiatric disorders cause insomnia which creates a feedback loop of getting less sleep, which amplifies the detrimental effects of the disorder, which in turn worsens the insomnia.
Feel free to read the book, but don't do so without strong skepticism. In particular, the book never actually attempts to answer the question in its title, other than to present some vague, unfalsifiable theories. It presents tons of information, but no answer to the question.
But the fact that under sleeping has serious detrimental effects on your health is supported by many studies.
There are so many studies out there about this, I don't see how you can deny this fact.
Off the top of your head is there similar data on getting too much sleep? It makes a lot of sense that (past a certain point) lack of sleep could be harmful, since going without sleep is eventually fatal. However this could easily be compatible with too much sleep being harmless.
Also, like the poster above pointed out, there are parts of the book that aren't really supported by studies, at least not studies that I could find. Make sure you do your own research before accepting anything as fact.
The most useful aspect of the book to me was just emphasizing how important sleep is to all organisms. There's a reason we've evolved to spend a third of our existence sleeping.
I subscribe to some nutrition and fitness subreddits and I see people obsessing about minute details of what they eat, how much they sleep, obsessing to take control over every facet of their lives because of some study they read on the internet.
I contend that worrying about these things is counter productive. Of course you should get enough sleep, you should exercise regularly and generally eat healthy. Check with your doctor, but this will probably be enough to avoid life style inflicted harm long term.
Strict controls and obsessive attention to your everyday life to maybe postpone death by some unknown amount of time, probably not worth it. Death sucks, but it's inevitable and no amount of finessing health choices will change that.
On the other hand, sleeping less than 8 hours a day is devastating (check the book 'Why We Sleep' for details)
Moreover, I've read that this was known among 19th century strongmen (Eugene Sandow slept 11+ hours a day).
So whatever happens during sleep, we need more of it (if we stress our body more).
I highly doubt that in itself (sleeping more) is detrimental in any way.
Might be an age thing but I'm seldom able to stay in bed for more than seven, eight hours at most. Fortunate to have a lifestyle that supports taking naps a few times a week.
On the other hand, tomorrow I often feel tired throughout a day, even more then as if I slept 4-5 hours without a weed, which might mean I should start looking for a parcel (meh).
This study just gave me cognitive dissonance.
Both these drugs are used as sedatives, but they are not good for your sleep. Your sleep cycles are just not the same (e.g. you don't get to REM as much) and it is considered detrimental for your sleep.
As others have mentioned in this thread, I highly recommend reading "Why we sleep" by M. Walker. It's one of the best books I've read.
Since using them I get much better sleep, don't wake up with dry mouth and a need to drink water all night. It only takes a few nights to get used to them. I use the largest silicone pair, despite the fact that it seems like its a tad to large, because it widens the nostril to ease breathing. Your mileage may vary.
And as the article mentions I do see those links in my personality associated with people getting a lack of sleep.
However, once I started working for myself, following my own schedule, I found it quite easy to get 7-8 hours of sleep per "night". I go to sleep when I want, and I usually wake up when my body wakes me up. I almost never feel tired anymore.
So in my opinion, the problem is the forced schedule most people have to suffer.
>Lower conscientiousness predicted increased death risk via the direct, indirect, and total effect of quadratic sleep duration. Although there were no other direct personality-mortality effects, higher neuroticism and agreeableness and lower conscientiousness predicted increased death risk via the joint indirect effects of quadratic sleep duration and higher daytime dysfunction.
As (almost) always, you can find the full article in Sci-Hub. It's not 2010 anymore.
How much sleep do we need and why?
A friend of mine is a security researcher and he has been awake for one entire week by napping barely 10min for the full week
Also, Margaret Thatcher went on to develop Alzheimers.
Not suggesting its easy, or possible, but its just surprising to me that I don't hear anyone talking about it. Modafinil might be the closest I've seen but its obviously not for long-term use. Google/Alphabet is pouring hundreds of millions into Calico to fight aging, but fighting Sleep feels like a much easier target that could have much more impactful consequences (extending life from 80 to 100 isn't nearly as interesting as giving a ~30 year old even 10% more time with their younger body and mind).
And once its solved we'll inevitably flip into a dystopian society where the poor either can't afford the drug and thus become poorer, or are the only ones taking it because they now have to work 22 hours a day, but Hey, we'll worry about that when we get there.
It's always a trade off, that's what I felt till now
Check out the HN comments.
What if you sleep only five hours but restrict eating to the same hours as someone sleeping seven hours?
If sleeping is about giving the body a break, it seems pretty obvious that not eating would be a major part of that.
anyone happen to remember/recognize what i'm describing and have a link to it?
Undiagnosed issues that cause the depression and anxiety in the first place often also cause sleep issues (thinking food intolerances and underlying inflammation), so it's hard to extract data to separate the two symptoms.
Everything else in the article seemed to be a lot of assumption and guessing about why people got more or less sleep.
Perhaps the article poorly represented the content of the study...
However, since being diagnosed with sleep apnea and treated via CPAP, I physically can't sleep longer than 7.
I think a lot of people don't realize when they have something like this... it's usually a partner who finally complains.