You have probably heard at some point in your life that not getting enough sleep can be bad for you. In fact, when you regularly don’t get enough sleep, it is actually linked to numerous types of chronic diseases, as well as being extra irritable and even sluggish throughout your day.
While getting too much sleep may sound like a problem for only the lucky, it’s actually not. Similar to not getting enough sleep, getting too much sleep is also a symptom of sleep disorder. It may also be connected to being depressed. Ton top of that, it is often times a sign that you are experiencing poor sleep quality, as well as possibly having a sleep disorder, which may include having narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea.
When you sleep too much, you are essentially exposing yourself to the same risks as if you were to sleep too little, some of which include metabolic problems like obesity and diabetes, heart disease, and even cognitive issues that can include making it difficult to remember things. Essentially, those who sleep too much is going to have almost identical overall mortality risks as those who sleep too little.
There is a lot of talk about how insufficient sleep can cause risks to your mood, physical health, performance and relationships, but the problem of oversleeping is simply something that you can’t ignore.
Excessive sleeping is also known as Hypersomnia, and is also the term that is used for excessive sleeping during the daytime. Very similarly to its counterpart, insomnia, there are several different core symptoms when it comes to hypersomnia.
- Sleeping for abnormally long hours during night. This will typically go far beyond the normal 7-8 hours of sleep that is recommended.
- Having extreme difficulty waking up in the morning time and even sleeping through your morning alarm.
- You will have trouble getting out of bed and getting your day started.
- Throughout the day you will have bouts of grogginess.
- You have trouble concentrating and paying attention.
Now you have to be sure that you are not getting this confused with the ‘once in a while’ you may get a little extra sleep to help make up for not getting enough sleep a day or two previously. This happens to everyone on occasion and is simply part of life. But if you are staying consistent within your regular sleep routine, this type of thing should not be happening to you very often.
So How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
While there is no real answer that fits for everyone, the right amount of sleep for you is going to be based off a number of different factors.. Those factors include:
- Your genetics – Your genetics play an important role in how much sleep you should be getting. This is because your genes are going to influence your internal sleep drive, as well as your circadian rhythms. Since these are the two main biological sleep systems within your body, they are going to play a major role when it comes to your sleep cycle.
- How old you are – While you may find that you require only 7 hours of sleep per night while in your 20s, you may notice that you require 8 hours of sleep in your 40s.
- How active you are – Sleeping is considered to be a special form of energy that your mind and your body need in order to help rebuild and recover from the day’s exertions. So the more active that you are, the more time your body is going to require to recharge and recover. Hence you are going to need to get more sleep than somebody who is less active than you are.
- Your current health – When you are dealing with health issues, there is a good chance that you are going to require more sleep than when you are not dealing with the same issues. This is true for both shorter-term illnesses (such as the flu or a cold), as well as for longer-term illnesses (such as arthritis or cancer).
- Your current life circumstances – If you are going through a stressful time in your life, or are dealing with some type of upheaval or change, it can increase the amount of sleep that you need for a temporary amount of time (which coincidentally, these are the same types of things that can also make it much more difficult for you to sleep). If you suffer from chronic stress, it can cause you to create a chronic sleep debt. This does not include just unwelcome or negative life events either as there are some very positive life changes that can demand for more sleep time as well.
With all of that being said, the normal amount of sleep that you should try to get on a daily basis should be between 7 and 9 hours, on a consistent basis. While you may feel that you only need to get between 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep per night that can be fine. But it is not very likely that you will be able to function at optimal levels on just 5 hours of sleep per night or less.
This is true on the other side of the spectrum as well as some people are going to require 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health. But if you are sleeping more than that on a regular basis and still feel tired and even fatigued throughout the day, that is a warning sign of oversleeping. If this does sound like you, it is time to start looking at what may be causing this excessive amount of sleep.
Depression and Oversleeping
More commonly found in teenagers and younger adults, those who oversleep can be going through depression. Now keep in mind that is harder to gauge a teens sleep pattern as it is usually going to be different than the sleep patterns of an adult. But any kind of excessive sleeping or sleepiness in teenagers and young adults should be considered a red flag and a symptom of depression. In fact, it is estimated that about 40 percent of adults under the age of 30 years old who suffer from depression are experiencing hypersomnia.
Depression and sleep have a very complex type of relationship. Continuously getting disrupted sleep is considered to be a symptom of depression, as well as a contributing factor leading to depression. That is why most who suffer from depression experience an irregular sleep pattern as well. And what makes things even worse is that sleep problems have the potential to make your depression even more severe, as well as more difficult to cure.
Now keep in mind that oversleeping is not just a problem that young adults with depression are going to have to deal with. Older adults who display symptoms of insomnia are also very common. But these same people can also experience hypersomnia when they are depressed as well. In fact women in particular are more likely to oversleep and still feel excessively fatigued throughout the day when they are depressed.
You also have to keep in mind that those who do suffer from depression will have sleep difficulties that can often times take on a shifting, variable form. Those who do suffer from depression may even have the symptoms of hypersomnia, as well as insomnia. Studies have actually shown that this is the case in about 27 percent of those who are depressed. It is known as ‘co-occurring’ and some of the characteristics can include:
- A more severe depression
- A higher rate of planning suicide and/or suicide attempts
- An increased impulse control disorder
- A greater likelihood of using drugs
When someone who has depression is experiencing co-occurring, there is a much higher likelihood that they are on anti-depressant medicine and other types of mental health treatments.
Dealing With Oversleeping
If you are experiencing symptoms that include excessive sleeping or feeling tired throughout your day no matter how much sleep you have gotten the night before, you are going to want to speak with a doctor about what may be causing it and how to prevent it from continuing to happen. If you start to notice any types of changes to your normal sleeping patterns and needs, such as an increased level of tiredness or fatigue, you are going to want to share that information with your doctor. Hypersomnia is often times directly related to other health conditions. If you are able to identify what the underlying cause may be, you and your doctor can work together to address that particular condition and your unusual oversleeping.
Just remember that consistency is one of the most important elements in regards to a strong, healthy sleep routine. Once you are able to identify how much sleep you actually need, you can then set yourself up a schedule to meet those needs on a routine basis. While it can be a trial and error type of process, just keep trying until you find the sleep pattern that works best for you.