Is too much sleep making you tired? -

The studies might be international, but the results are all too American, where by saying "American" I pull the colonizing move of meaning the USA.

But if you habitually sleep excessively, it could be the result of an underlying health problem. And it could be cutting into your life span.

"There's been at least two epidemiological studies to show that if people get less than five hours, or more than 10 hours of sleep, it increases their mortality," said Michael Breus, the clinical director of the sleep division at Southwest Spine and Sports in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A 2007 Finnish study found that the mortality risks increased by about 20 percent for people who slept more than eight hours. That same year, a British study found that people who slept five hours or less and those who slept more than eight hours also faced increased risks. Another study showed that people who routinely slept more than eight hours a night had a greater chance of stroke than others with less sleep.

I know of very few folk that need to get less sleep on a routine basis, but whaddya know, there must be enough that there's a market pitching treatment to them.

"If you find you're sleeping a lot -- like more than nine hours on a regular basis, you need to talk to your physician, because that probably means you got poor quality sleep and that could be sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless legs form of sleep disorder," said Breus. [emph of diagnoses mine]

A recent This American Life show suggested that those who spent a great deal on lots of health care later in life did not necessarily have longer lives than those who didn't. Perhaps those who didn't were simply healthier. Perhaps the health system isn't smart enough to deduce good, long term rules for better health.

I don't think the human has changed enough in 2000 years to warrant any flip-flops on medical advice for the whole. I'm reminded of my standard mantra on eating/dieting: "Eat whatever you want and then go running." I suspect that the suggestion that relaxing in general can kill -- the undercurrent of this "story" -- is the capital talking.