We can all agree that quality sleep affects the body as a whole. Not only does it relax our minds, but it also prepares us for the long day ahead. That’s why it’s essential to have better sleep habits for a boost of energy every day.
Currently, millions of people worldwide suffer from sleep issues that directly affect their physical and mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 30% of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night.
While there’s a lot of emphasis on getting enough sleep, there’s not sufficient discussion on the hazards of oversleeping.
So how much sleep do you need? How is getting too much sleep bad for you? What does the medical research say about it? Let’s get answers to all these questions in this guide.
Healthy Sleep: Are You Getting It?
Before we address all those confusions in detail, let’s determine the right sleep duration for every age group. While sleep mainly depends on your age, it can also vary from one person to another.
For instance, your sleep duration may be affected by different factors, like aging and pregnancy.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep for 7-9 hours every night, while a newborn baby should rest for 14-17 hours a day.
Meanwhile, teenagers should get 8-10 hours of sleep, while school-going children should get 9-11 hours of daily sleep.
While these are standard durations, research shows that sleeping longer than 9 hours could harm your body. For instance, a meta-analysis revealed that people who get 9 hours of daily sleep have a 14% higher risk of dying.
On the other hand, people who sleep for 10 hours have a 30% higher risk, while those who get 11 hours of daily sleep have a 47% higher risk.
The study authors explained that people often restrict their sleep in today’s busy lifestyle because they want to work or care for their families. They further said their studies show that sleeping longer might be more harmful than sleeping less.
In another study, the researchers noted that people who slept for more than 7 hours every day were more likely to get diabetes.
Likewise, a study showed that sleeping for long durations was linked to increased C-reactive protein, marking the risk of cardiovascular ailments.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that these studies don’t suggest people who sleep longer are prone to dying earlier or falling sick. They merely show associations between certain risks and sleep duration.
Causes of Oversleeping
Several factors contribute to making people sleep too much. Here are a few of them:
We often hear about people searching for tips for healthy sleep because of insomnia or a related sleep disorder. However, it’s very rare to hear someone talking about the hazards of getting too much sleep.
That’s because the health condition resulting in oversleeping, called hypersomnia, only affects 4% to 6% of the population. The sufferers of this condition require about 10 to 12 hours of sleep every night to feel fresh in the morning.
Nowadays, we have pretty busy lives, and it’s not always possible to get 10 hours of sleep a night. That’s why such people catch up on their sleep over the weekends or during their free time. Sometimes, they may sleep for as long as 15 hours at once!
In most cases, hypersomnia begins from your childhood. If you didn’t get enough hours of daily sleep as a child, you’d feel tired during the day.
However, if you didn’t feel that as a kid and the fatigue has only begun now, there could be another reason behind it.
Along with hypersomnia, lifestyle changes also lead to getting too much sleep.
For instance, if you’re preparing for an exam and stay up most nights of the week to study, your body will find ways to make up for the missed sleeping time. It may put you to rest for half the day or even longer once you’re done with the exam.
Health Conditions Affecting Healthy Sleep
Some other health conditions that could lead to oversleeping include:
The significant symptoms of narcolepsy are oversleeping and excessive urges to sleep any time of the day, medically known as sleep attacks.
The secondary narcolepsy, caused by the injury of the brain’s hypothalamus, leads to sleepiness and drowsiness the whole day. Patients suffering from this type often sleep for more than 10 hours a day.
Although narcolepsy is a lifetime condition, you can manage it by getting early treatment with the help of some lifestyle changes.
2. Depression and Anxiety
Getting too much sleep or too little sleep are significant side effects of depression and anxiety. Seniors and adolescents with depression usually experience excessive sleepiness in the daytime.
A study observes that anxious people are most likely to feel oversleeping, making them more stressed and distorting their healthy sleep.
However, luckily, now you can find several effective treatments for anxiety and depression, like cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and some lifestyle changes. But you must consult your doctor before trying anything on your own.
3. Sleep Apnea
In sleep apnea, people often stop breathing for a few minutes in the middle of their sleep. This keeps them awake during the whole night and sleepy during the day.
To cope with this situation, your body tends to rest in the day as well as at night, leading to oversleeping.
Moreover, you must go to your doctor if your partner often complains about you snoring loudly or choking at night.
Other health problems affecting sleep are:
Is Getting too much Sleep Bad for You?
Yes, it is. We’ve already discussed above how longer sleep durations are associated with a higher risk of health problems.
Additionally, the risk of death due to heart ailments also increases with sleep duration. Apart from that, oversleeping can also lead to memory problems, anxiety, and low energy levels.
Remember that you don’t necessarily need to have a sleeping disorder to experience these side effects. If you’re oversleeping due to your lifestyle choices, even that could lead to different complications, such as:
- Back pain
Oversleepers are also susceptible to having auto accidents. Therefore, if you oversleep, be careful when driving and avoid handling heavy machinery.
Diagnosis for Oversleeping
If your oversleeping is not due to a lifestyle change, it’s wise to talk to a doctor about it. Your physician will ask you questions about medication usage, health history, and lifestyle during the examination.
After that, they may use the following techniques to diagnose the condition:
- Epworth Sleepiness Scale: It is used to rate an individual’s sleepiness, giving the healthcare professional an idea of how sleep affects the patient.
- Polysomnogram: You may be required to take a polysomnogram. Your doctor will make you stay overnight in the hospital or a sleep center. During the night, a monitor will measure your eye movement, heart rate, brain activity, and leg movement.
Helpful Tips for Better Sleep Habits
The first step to getting healthy sleep is consulting your doctor about your condition.
Besides, you can also keep a sleep diary to record your sleeping schedule at night and day both, including the short naps you take.
Doing so will help your doctor understand your condition better and suggest an appropriate treatment for you.
However, you can still follow some tips to get healthy sleep on your own. Here are some:
- Make Your Sleep Schedule: Set a time for going to bed and waking up. Then, follow this schedule every day to keep your sleep cycle balanced and synchronized.
- Create a Sleeping Environment: To get healthy sleep, you must avoid all those things that can become obstacles, such as electronics and excessive light and noise. Also, make the temperature of the room comfortable enough to rest through the night.
- Exercise Regularly: Physical activities during the day help a lot in sleeping well at night. However, never try to work out before going to bed.
- Reduce Alcohol Consumption: Try to curb your alcohol, caffeine, or drug intake as they massively affect your sleep.
- Maintain Sleep Hygiene: Proper sleep hygiene improves overall health and promotes healthy sleep. So always take care of it while making your bed.
- Use CBD or Other Supplements: You can also use CBD products as natural remedies to get healthy sleep. Also, chamomile and melatonin supplements are equally helpful.
So we can conclude that everything that stays within a limit doesn’t cause any harm. Where less sleep takes a toll on our health, getting too much sleep also affects us badly.
Therefore, one of the most helpful tips for maintaining better sleep habits is never to put off your sleep to make time for other activities.
If you sleep on time daily, your body will be well-rested and won’t require compensation for the missed sleep.
However, if oversleeping is affecting your daily life significantly, get help as soon as possible.