Are you getting the right amount of sleep? With our busy lives, we often worry about not getting enough sleep. However, it turns out that too much sleep can be just as bad for your health and energy level as getting too little.
While sleeping in may seem like a luxury, it can be damaging to your overall health and can even be an indicator of mental or physical illness.
Typically, for an average adult, it is recommended that they sleep 7-9 hours a night. While sleep may seem like what your body ‘needs’, too much sleep can actually affect diabetes, obesity, headaches, back pain, and depression, among a number of other ailments. Continue reading to learn about how oversleeping could be affecting you, how to avoid it, and how exactly to get that, just right amount of sleep.
How Much Sleep Is Too Much?
Life can be exhausting and sometimes we all feel like we could sleep the entire day away, but this is neither necessary, nor helpful. Think of sleep is like gas for your body. Your car can only benefit from the proper amount of gas, anything extra just causes overflow amongst other potential issues. Similarly, your body can only properly process a certain amount of sleep at a time. Generally, 7-9 hours is all an average adult needs to be fully functional. However, this may vary depending on age, genetics, health and activity level.
We all know our minds and bodies need sleep. But do you know why? Visit our blog The Importance of Sleep to find out.
How Does Oversleeping Affect You?
The side effects of oversleeping can range from the minimal (fatigue and headaches) to the severe including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Overall, if you feel that you are oversleeping, you should reach out to your doctor. Serious conditions include: more severe depression, higher rates of suicide and suicide planning attempts, higher rates of impulse control disorder, and greater use of drug disorder.
Turns out trying to squeeze in an extra hour of sleep could actually make you more tired than if you went ahead and got out of bed. Seems backwards, we know. But sleep in doesn’t always equal energy out. Oversleeping can severely impact your circadian rhythm- the thing in your brain that manages your 24-hour sleep wake cycle. Feelings of lethargy, fatigue, and drowsiness are the results of a messed up circadian rhythm and can feel like jet lag, not knowing what time it is.
Some people consider headaches a nuisance, but a small nuisance to say the least. But when headaches become frequent due to oversleeping, they are hard to manage. Especially if you are prone to headaches, sleeping longer on the weekends or on vacation can actually increase head pain throughout the day.
Researchers claim that this is due to once again, serotonin, and the various levels in the brain. If you sleep too much during the day and not enough at night, you may also experience severe headaches in the morning. This is yet another way of your body telling you that something isn’t right.
While you may look straight to your bed to ‘relax’ when it comes to back pain, these beliefs are outdated. In fact doctors no longer remedy back pain with heading straight to bed, instead they recommend against sleeping as much as possible.
To remedy back pain nowadays, the best thing is to be more active. Loosening up your back muscles can actually alleviate more pain than simply laying around in bed. If you’re oversleeping, you may actually be inflicting more back pain on your body.
Of the many more serious conditions that can result from oversleeping (or lack of sleeping) is diabetes. While it cannot cause diabetes it can significantly increase your risk to develop diabetes. Oversleeping decreases your overall health, making you susceptible to illnesses such as this.
The affects of too much sleep and too little sleep being culprits for diabetes are still being heavily researched. The link is there, but the exact reasoning is still up for debate. Regardless, the best way to curb this is to have a consistent sleep routine that that gives you between 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Sleep and weight are one of the more closely connected functions of the body. People who oversleep tend to also be overweight. In fact, a study shows that people who slept for 9-10 hours per night were 21% more likely to become obese than those who only slept 6 or 7 hours.
It is important to listen to your body, but getting up and starting your day can mean a more healthy lifestyle. This is especially because even if you practice a healthy diet and exercise, oversleeping can still lead to obesity. It only makes sense right? Why stay in bed longer when you could get your body moving.
Depression is one of the more serious concerns of oversleeping. Although oversleeping is more commonly linked to insomnia, now, it is also closely linked to depression. While there are other factors that need to be in place in order to fully develop depression, it shows that 15% of people with depression sleep too much.
Many time those suffering with depression have trouble falling asleep, similar to insomnia. But once they are able to fall asleep the tendency to want to stay in bed greatly increases. Leading to a perpetual cycle of over sleeping.
The fact is that oversleeping effects the body all over the place. In a study of 72,000 women, experiment shows that women who sleep 9 to 19 hours each night were 38% more likely to develop coronary heart disease. Although the exact connection has not been determined, it is recommended to sleep no more than 8 hours each night.
This is very similar to what triggers the link between diabetes and too much sleep. There are several theories but little conclusive evidence to the exact connection. Again, the best remedy is a good and consistent schedule with enough sleep, but not too much.
When Should You Seek Help?
Depending on the changes in our daily lives, there are natural changes in sleep and energy level. However, if your energy level or sleeping habits have suddenly changed rapidly or become unhealthy without seeming to have an obvious cause. (Like perhaps having a child, or a change in schedule or work) Then you may need to seek help from a medical doctor to see if you have a sleep disorder.
How Do You Stop From Oversleeping?
If oversleeping is a relevant problem in your life, first you must determine why you’re over sleeping. If you simply are choosing to over sleep, or you’re struggling with depression, or perhaps you may even be dealing with an undiagnosed with a sleep disorder. We suggest determining what is causing your over sleeping first because this will determine what actions need to be taken in order to start sleeping a healthy amount.
First step is to consult your doctor, you may need to seek guidance from a specialist. Unfortunately there is no way to self diagnose. Seeking proper medical opinion is the best way to get a diagnosis. So, if you feel excessively tired, notice changes in your sleep pattern, or suspect some type of sleeping disorder, talk with your doctor to determine your next steps.
What Can You Do Now?
It may take a little while to get in with your doctor. In the meantime, there are some thing you can do to try to get back on a healthy sleep schedule.
Track Sleeping Habits
You may be sleeping much more or much less than you think. If you go to visit a doctor this will be one of the first things they request you to do. Simply saying “I sleep way too much” unfortunately isn’t enough information for any diagnosis or help. Keep a journal of when and how long your sleep. Be as detailed as possible and add any details you think might be pertinent.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can ruin the quality of sleep you’re getting. Over drinking can also cause oversleeping. Even if you do not have a habit of drinking excessively, lowering the amount or frequency of alcohol you’re drinking will likely improve the quality and amount of sleep you’re getting. Get more information at Our Guide to Why Alcohol and Sleep Don’t Mix.
Science is always debating what a healthy diet really looks like. However, you know if you’re eating junk. We are talking foods high in sugar, salt, carbs and fat that are low in nutrients. So put down the fast food bag of burgers and start eating some real food.
Set Healthy Sleep Schedule
One way to determine if your sleep is something you can control or if you are dealing with a sleep disorder is by attempting to keep a proper sleep schedule. Create a sleep schedule that works for you and your life and gives you a healthy amount of sleep. Then stick to it as best as you can. It may take a while to adjust but if you are not dealing with other health or mental issues then your body should adjust to the new sleep schedule within a month. Need a bit of help setting a schedule? Visit our page How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule for help.
Living a sedentary lifestyle often leads to oversleeping. If you are not physically active, then you may want to add some exercise to your daily schedule. How much will be determined on your current activity level. Don’t do too much too quickly. If you generally sit or lay all day long, then try going on a daily walk. If you are generally active but could do more, then add an extra day or two to the gym weekly. You may be surprised how much energy this will give you during the rest of your days.
It’s true! Working out gives your more energy and healthier sleeping habits. Read our post Exercise & Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep? to learn more.
Avoid Distractions Before Bed
Activities that are highly stimulating to your mind, like watching TV, using a smartphone, or other electronics can really lower your sleep quality. Activities like these will not only lower the quality of sleep but they can make it more difficult to get to sleep in the first place. Which may cause your to oversleep. So avoid these stimulating distractors before bed.
Want to know why electronics ruin your sleep? Read our post Technology and Sleep to learn all you need to know.
Caffeine is one of the first things most people turn to in times of feeling lethargic. However, drinking caffeine too often, too much, or at the wrong time could really mess up your sleeping habits. You can even become reliant on it to feel alert. If you want to know more about the effects of caffeine, visit our page Caffeine Free: The Benefits of Quitting Caffeine to learn more.
Are You Oversleeping?
Tired now? If you’ve learned a thing or two about oversleeping, perhaps the most important is to listen to your body. When it tells you you’re tired, go to bed. When it tells you you’re too tired, consult your doctor. Sleep is no longer the remedy for everything, too much can increase your risk for a whole host of negative ailments.
Who knew that something as simple as oversleeping could be a bad thing, but when heart disease, diabetes, and even depression are on the line, it is wise not to oversleep too much. There is a time to sleep and a time to be awake, so try to find a sleep schedule that gives you a healthy balance of both.
Our Sleep Guide is here to help you with all your sleep needs. However, when it comes to oversleeping, or any conditions that should be determined by a healthcare professional, we recommend reaching out to the proper resources. If you have any questions that we can help you with, please feel free to Contact Us.