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睡眠のとりすぎは本当に健康に悪いのか?その賛否両論について

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「つい寝すぎてしまった」「睡眠のとりすぎは健康にも良くないんだぞ」などという会話を耳にしました。睡眠のとりすぎということに関して日本人は非常に敏感なのではないかと思います。長く眠るということに関して何か一種の罪悪感のようなものを持っているような気がします。また実際に睡眠のとりすぎは心身の健康に悪影響を与えるという医学的・生理学的な分析もあります。睡眠のとりすぎは本当に健康に害悪なのでしょうか。

本稿では睡眠のとりすぎということに関して是とする意見と非とする意見双方について触れてみたいと思います。

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やっぱり睡眠のとりすぎは良くない?

眠い

睡眠のとりすぎというと、ややマイナスなイメージを持ってしまわれる方が多いのではないかと思います。睡眠をとりすぎていると言うと「なまけものだ」「気持ちが緩んでいるんじゃないか」などと言われることすらあります。

実際、医学的・生理学的な見地からも、睡眠のとりすぎは心身の健康を害するという意見が多いことも確かです。本当に睡眠のとりすぎは即心身の健康に悪影響を及ぼすと言えるものなのでしょうか?

睡眠とりすぎは健康に良くないというさまざまな意見

睡眠のとりすぎについて心身の健康に悪影響を及ぼすという意見には例えば以下のような意見があります。

(1)生体リズムの乱れ
睡眠をとりすぎると生体リズムが乱れます。つまり、私たちの体は23時間から25時間程度の間隔で体内時計がセットされており、客観的な24時間というサイクルとは少しズレが生じてしまっています。

この体内時計のずれを直すのが朝の太陽の光であり、規則正しく起きることで体内時計が正常化するとされます。(このことはセロトニンなどのホルモンの分泌から生理学的にも正しいこととされています)そのため、睡眠をとりすぎてしまい、起きる時間が不規則となることで体内時計はどんどん乱れて夜型になったり体のホルモンバランスが乱れるなどして生体リズムが乱れてしまうとされます。

(2)脳の疲労・集中力低下
次に、睡眠のとりすぎが脳の疲労につながるという意見もあります。この点に関してはやや懐疑的なところもありますが、一般には睡眠をとりすぎると脳がかえって疲弊して注意力散漫や集中力の欠陥などを引き起こすという意見もあります。

(3)肥満やそれに伴う病気になりやすい
さらに、睡眠のとりすぎは肥満の大きな原因となるという意見があります。つまり、睡眠をとりすぎてしまうと肥満や高血糖、高脂血症、糖尿病などの身体の病気にもなってしまいやすいという研究者もいます。

睡眠のとりすぎは心身の健康に影響はしないという意見

一方で、睡眠のとりすぎと健康については特に影響・関係は少なく、むしろ一般的には睡眠のとりすぎとみられるような方のほうが、仕事などで高い結果を出しているという意見もあります。

例えば、アインシュタインは1日10時間程度の睡眠時間を必要としたといいます。10時間というと一般的にはかなり睡眠はとりすぎにように思われるのではないかと思います。

しかし、アインシュタインが残した功績は大変偉大です。

また、ゲゲゲの鬼太郎などで有名な漫画家の水木しげるさんは90歳を超えた今(2014年時点)でも精力的に仕事に取り組まれており、しかも大変健康です。水木しげるさんは睡眠時間が非常に長く、お昼すぎまで睡眠を取っていることもよくあるということです。

しかし、ご長寿でまだまだ現役の漫画家です。

このように睡眠のとりすぎが必ずしも健康に悪影響を及ぼすかというと一概には言えないところがあるということができます。最終的には体質ということも出来るかと思われます。

とはいえ、一般的な目安は?

このように睡眠のとりすぎが健康や仕事のパフォーマンスに必ずしも悪影響を及ぼすとは断言することはできません。睡眠のとりすぎが良い・良くないということは個々人によって異なるというのがつまるところということが言えるでしょう。

ただ、一般的には睡眠時間は6時間から7時間程度が健康にはもっともよいと言われています。睡眠時間が6時間から7時間程度の方は一般的な統計・データとしてはもっとも長寿で健康的であるという研究結果があります。

最終的に睡眠のとりすぎになるかどうかは個々人の方の生活習慣や体質によると言えるでしょう。ただ、一般的には6時間から7時間程度で睡眠時間をキープすることができるのであればそれが望ましいと言えるかと思われます。

8時間睡眠のウソ。 日本人の眠り、8つの新常識
川端 裕人 三島 和夫
日経BP社
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まとめ:睡眠時間に「とりすぎ」はない

以上、本文で述べました睡眠時間のとりすぎに関してのポイントをまとめますと以下のようなことが言えます。

  • 睡眠をとりすぎることに関しては心身の健康に悪影響を与えるという考え方とそうではないとする考え方とがあります
  • 一般には睡眠をとりすぎると脳の働きがおとろえたり、肥満などにつながるなどの健康への悪影響があると言われます。一方で、一般的には睡眠のとりすぎと言われるほど眠られていても高い仕事のパフォーマンスや健康を維持されている方もおられます
  • 睡眠のとりすぎが健康に悪い影響を及ぼすと言えるかは最終的には人それぞれということができるといえます。ただ、一般的には6時間から7時間程度の睡眠が健康には良いとされています

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