Study Links Oversleeping to Heart Disease and Early Death

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. premature / ˌpriːməˈtʃuɚ / (adj) – happening earlier than normal

    Everyone was shocked by his premature death at age 27.

  2. follow up / fɑːloʊ ʌp / (phrasal) – to get more information about something previously encountered

    I went to the doctor to follow up on the results of my tests.

  3. optimum / ˈɑːptəməm / (adj) – best or most favorable

    The layout of the furniture makes optimum use of the available space.

  4. the other way around / ði ˈʌðɚ weɪ əˈraʊnd / (idiom) – the opposite of what was mentioned

    Sickness can cause oversleeping, not the other way around.

  5. underlying / ˌʌndɚˈlajɪŋ / (adj) – can only be seen or felt upon close observation or examination

    His high fever was a symptom of an underlying sickness.


Read the text below.

People who sleep for more than eight hours a day may be at risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) or premature death, according to a recent study.

A team of researchers from various institutions asked about the sleeping habits of 116,000 adults who were 35 to 70 years old and were from 21 countries. The team followed up on the participants for about eight years and found that, during this period, 4,381 people died and 4,365 had CVD.

The researchers also observed that people who slept for more than 10 hours a day were 41% more likely to suffer from CVD or die early. Those who slept for nine to 10 hours, on the other hand, are 17% more likely to have these health problems.

Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that the optimum sleep duration for adults is six to eight hours per day. The study could not tell how exactly oversleeping is related to CVD or premature death. Nonetheless, lead author Chuangshi Wang stressed that excessive sleeping might be a sign of health issues linked with CVD or early death. For this reason, Wang hopes that the study’s findings will encourage doctors to ask about their patients’ sleeping habits and see how these affect their patients’ health.

Francesco Cappuccio [fran-CHES-ko kahp-POO-cho], a cardiovascular medicine expert who is not part of the study, supported Wang’s statement. He said that sleeping for long periods of time would not cause diseases or death, but it is the other way around. That is, having an underlying illness might make people feel too weak and cause them to oversleep.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• After learning about the study, do you think that you should change your sleeping habits? Why or why not?
• Why do you think some people oversleep? Discuss.

Discussion B

• How can people ensure that they are getting the right amount of sleep?
• Aside from cardiovascular diseases, what other health risks do you think are related to oversleeping? Explain.