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Growing Number of Adults Report Sleeping Too Much

Update Date: Apr 19, 2013 12:01 PM EDT

Most people that you speak with complain of too little sleep. Indeed, much research has been performed on the detrimental effects of too little sleep. However, a study has found that the rates of people regularly receiving too little sleep has been on the decline. In fact, it appears that people who receive too much sleep are the greater problem.

According to My Health News Daily, a study examined the data of participants between the years of 1970 and 2007 in various countries. In 2007, 37 percent of participants in the United States reported receiving nine hours or more of sleep on weekdays and weekends, an uptick from 28 percent who reported the same thing in 1985.

Meanwhile, despite an increase in full-time workers, 9 percent of people in 2007 reported receiving fewer than six hours of sleep, a decrease from 11 percent in 1985. In other words, Americans were 1.5 times more likely to say that they were sleeping nine hours or greater in 2007 than in 1985, and 15 percent less likely to report that they were receiving six hours of sleep or fewer during the same time period.

That trend seemed to appear in other countries that were studied as well. The researchers from the University of Sydney looked at surveys conducted in 10 countries where people were asked to detail how much time they spent over the span of 24 hours performing different tasks. Australia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom all reported increases in sleeping nine hours or greater a night. Meanwhile, Sweden and the United Kingdom also reported decreases in the number of people who sleep six hours or fewer.

While more sleep may considered to be a good thing, too much sleep is associated with health effects, just like too little sleep. Studies have found that sleeping for more than eight hours is associated with a higher risk of cognitive problems, heart disease and premature death.

However, researchers note that the findings of the study may be ambiguous. Many people may be recording how long they spent in bed and not how long they slept. In addition, long times spent in bed may be linked to sleep disorders, like insomnia, or other conditions, like depression.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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