Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends. She said that she loves to spend time reading blog posts on different topics. A few days ago, she read my post that I wrote about insomnia. She was inspired to research and read more on the topic regarding sleep because she struggles with oversleeping. I told her that she isn’t the only one who is dealing with that problem. It is difficult for many people to fall asleep at night, and when they finally do, it’s almost impossible to get up in the morning. I have this problem too.
After I finished faculty, I had too much free time. I didn’t have many obligations, because I was still not working full time. I often stayed late at night and slept late in the morning. Sometimes I slept more than 10 hours. When I woke up, I feet so groggy, without the willingness to do anything.
I agree 100 % that a good night’s sleep is essential for our health, but also I agree that oversleeping can have negative effects on our health.
But, how much sleep is too much?
The amount we need varies significantly over the course of our lifetime. It depends on our age and activity level as well as our general health and lifestyle habits. During periods of stress or illness, we may feel an increased need for sleep. Experts recommend that adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night.
Among the people there is a stereotype that those who are sleeping a lot are lazy people. They do not realize that maybe that kind of people struggle with oversleeping. Oversleeping can really be a medical problem.
Hypersomnia is one medical disorder. People with this disorder have trouble staying awake during the day. They can fall asleep at any time – for instance, at work or while they are driving. Also, they experience symptoms of anxiety, low energy and memory problems as a result of their almost constant need for sleep.
Apnea is another disorder, which is a breathing problem that causes people to stop breathing for short periods of time when they are a sleep. This can also lead to an increased need for sleep. That’s because it disrupts the normal sleep cycle. But, not everyone that oversleeps suffers from a medical condition. Maybe you are one of that people who do this irregularly and most of the times it is because you slept too little the previous night. If you are not fully rested and do not get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, you will wake up feeling very tired and will continue to feel this way throughout the day. That means that you will have to make up for it the next night by sleeping a few extra hours.
The most interesting for me are the psychological factors that have an impact on the way we sleep. Feelings of anxiety, depression or lack of motivation can cause us to oversleep. Even the weather can affect our sleeping patterns, like rainy days which suck all the energy out of you and leave you tired without the willingness to do anything.
Oversleeping may cause some physical side effects:
- Headaches is one of the most common side effects that most people who oversleep experience. If you sleep longer than usual on a weekend or a vacation, you may experience headache. This is caused by the effect that oversleeping has on the neurotransmitters of the brain.
- Depression: 15% of people with depression sleep too much. This may turn their depression worse. This is because regular sleep habits are important to the recovery process. In certain instances, sleep deprivation can be an effective treatment for depression.
- Diabetes – Studies have shown that sleeping too long or not enough each night can increase the risk for diabetes
- Obesity – The oversleeping makes you less active. This can lead you to obesity, which by itself can cause a lot of other medical problems
- Death – Many studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours a night have significantly higher death rates than people sleeping seven to eight hours a night. No specific reason for this correlation has been determined. But researchers found that depression and low socioeconomic status are also associated with longer sleep. They speculate these factors could be related to the observed increase in mortality for people who sleep too much.
Also, there are some psychological side effects. When we wake up late, we realized that we wasted our time doing something that maybe is not to good for our health. This can make you feel bad and angry. Feeling this way for a long period can lead you to depression.
After all, you need to know that too much sleep, during the week or the weekends can’t make you feel better. But, don’t be discouraged. You can find the way to control this habit.
If you want to read more about how to stop oversleeping, read my post about “How can we stop oversleeping“. You don’t need to face this fight alone.
Together we will find ways to break this habit and have a healthier life.