T Nation

Am I sleeping too much?

I know that not getting enough sleep is a problem, but is getting too much bad? I have been sleeping 11 hours a day or so and I was wondering if you guys think that is not a good idea for mass and strength gains.

Do you sleep 11 hours straight, or are you taking long naps in the afternoon? 11 hours straight would be a long time to go, even sleeping, without ingesting protein. Also, there was a study recently implying that sleeping either more or less than 7-8 hours a night is unhealthy.

And this study is located where?

Dude, that’s sleeping nearly half your life away! And I agree with Jared NFS that if it’s all in one shot, that’s way too long of a fast. I go in for a checkup to make sure everything’s okay.

I agree that 11 hours of straight sleep can be detrimental to serious strength and mass gains. Remember that your body is in a fasting state during your sleeping hours. Going this long without injesting any type of protein can impede your progress. You might want to consider waking to drink a protein shake and then go back to bed if you insist on sleeping this long. It’s an option.

If I sleep in two six hour sessions per day is that a problem?

I’m just curious, but how are you ok with sleeping for half of your life? Personally, I’d feel like a waste of life.

Sleeping Life Away - New Study Says That When It Comes to Sleep, Less May Be

By Melinda T. Willis

Feb. 15 - So you stayed up past your bedtime watching late-night TV, and that means you only got six hours of sleep. Many experts would say that spells trouble. But new research is challenging the notion that when it comes to sleep, more is always better.

In fact, people who reported sleeping more than eight hours a night have a 15 percent greater chance of dying, for any reason, than people who sleep seven hours a night. The same holds true for those who slept less than four or five hours, found researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and the American Cancer Society.

The use of sleeping pills was also associated with an increased mortality of 25 percent. And perhaps surprisingly, people who reported themselves to be insomniacs were not found to have any increased risk.

The study, which appears in the current issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, used data collected by the American Cancer Society in 1982 and 1988 that documents the sleep habits (including use of sleeping pills) of 1.1 million men and women ranging in age from 30 to 102.

"The main implication is good news," said Dr. Daniel Kripke, professor of psychiatry at UCSD and lead author of the study. "The average American sleeps six and a half hours [a night] and people who sleep five, six, or seven hours are perfectly safe and don't need to sleep any more."

Sleep Less, Live Longer?

Experts caution that the results of this study demonstrate only that there is a relationship between sleep and mortality and do not explain the underlying causes.

There may also be confounding factors that prevent these results from being extended to the general population.

"Although sizable, the study population [friends and relatives of American Cancer Society volunteers] is not a random sample and does not represent the entire population," said a representative of the National Sleep Foundation. "Geographic, racial and other factors of the study group are not indicated."

While the idea that sleeping less will lead to longer life cannot yet be proven, it has been examined in previous research.

"Most of the studies seem to support the idea that people who are very long sleepers and short sleepers may live less," said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the sleep center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "But why? Is it a sleep-related issue, or is there an underlying problem for which sleep is a symptom?"

Beyond Longevity

The bottom line is that it is still too early to say whether setting the alarm clock an hour earlier will help anyone break longevity records.

"If you have results [from studies] like these, it does not mean that people need less sleep," added Zee. "It could, but I don't think that it should be interpreted that way - at least not until more studies are performed."

Additionally, even if further research confirms that short or long sleepers have higher mortality rates, experts say they will still stress the importance of a good night's sleep, because living longer does not necessarily mean living better.

"There are many reasons to continue to urge people to obtain adequate sleep," says the National Sleep Foundation, which notes that bad moods, a higher risk for accidents and negative effects on the immune system are all associated with inadequate sleep. "Mortality is not the only important outcome measure."

I feel that getting a lot of sleep may help my growth and recovery. I am trying to find out if 11-12 hours is too much?not for life, but for muscle gains. If getting more sleep can get me gains I feel it is not a waste at all. I go to school at MIT in Boston and have split my weekdays into two smaller days and it has been the only way my schedule works out well. My approximate schedule is: 4am - 10am sleep, 10am -2pm class, 2pm - 8pm sleep, 9pm - 11pm lifting, 12am - 4 am school work and whatever else.

ANOTHER QUESTION: Does sleeping too much slow down the metabolism and, if so, does a slower metabolism hinder recovery?

Most of my life I’ve suffered from extreme sleepiness. I too sleep about 10-11 hours a day. I’m always looking to the next time I’ll get to sleep. Melatonin helps by giving me a deeper sleep, but I’m still always looking forward to a nap. I’ve been tested for everything under the sun, and all the tests come back normal.

if you need it, take it. i’m home on winter break getting 9-11 hours a nite right now, but i normally feel groggy and the 2 hours after 9 are restless bullshit hours of sleep, so i try to get up now after 9 hours or so

Hey Nitronious, it’s your life to live how you want, but I couldn’t help but notice that your day consists of classes from 10am to 2pm, homework (and whatever else), and lifting. So what’s wrong with getting up at 6am, lifting from 7-9, class from 10-2, homework from 2-6, “whatever else” from 6 until whenever you go to bed. That allows you to get your sleep all in one shot (which will probably provide for a more restful sleep), and also allows you to have a more “traditional” schedule. I don’t know, just an idea to ponder.

‘Not Jared’ - thanks for the footwork!

'to Jared' - I debated commenting about posting the source of the study. Here's why I didn't. 1) I'm lazy :) 2) For any study presented, it is highly likely that another one can be found contradicting the results - my purpose was not a he-said she-said debate on the absolute rule of how much to sleep. 3) Very few studies, if any, are perfect, so posting the source would only invite people to tear it apart, which has nothing to do with my purpose of posting it (getting to the purpose soon, I promise). 4) I thought it was a widely known study (relatively at least) as I thought the AP and other news sources had picked it up. (I could very well be wrong!) 5) My purpose was only to suggest that sleeping longer than 8 hours may not be healthy. I was not trying to state a hard and fast rule. I'm not a big fan of absolutes. In the future, though, I will take into consideration the curiosity of others.

First off, there’s quite a bit of skepticism surrounding that study, so take its results with a grain of salt. Secondly, you’re in college, so I would assume that you’re young (around 20?). Well, I don’t know about the rest of the posters here, but I was able to sleep a hell of a lot more when I was that age than I do now (I’m 31).

Overall, I don’t think it’s a problem unless you’re having problems and you think the amount of sleep you get is the culprit. If you feel good and are getting good results, both in school and in the gym, then why fix what ain’t broke? Everyone is different. Besides, your schedule looks better to me than someone who might be sleeping a bit less, but spends that extra time glued to the tv or playing vids. And if you aren’t getting good results in the gym, take a close look at things like your diet and training before messing with something like sleep that may cause all the other things in your life (like school) to go to pot.

How old are you? If you are 16-19 I think you are probably ok, lots of kids, for various reasons sleep ALOT. As you get older you will probably sleep less. I know when I was a kid I could easily sleep 12 hours at a clip sometimes (deep restful sleep). That would be impossible for me now–I say go with it.

I am 18 and 7 months so I guess people my age do sleep a lot. It looks like no one sees a problem with sleeping 11-12 hours per day. I have heard rumors from my friend that sleeping too much slows down the metabolism and that is a problem for recovery. My current goals are to gain size and strength with little regard for bodyfat percentage.