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  • Annika Brindley

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Sleep?



Sleep is a vital part of our lives, allowing our bodies to rest and recover from the day. Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night, although some may need more or less.

According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million US adults suffer from a sleep disorder. While most people think of insomnia when they think of sleep disorders, there is another condition that can be just as detrimental to your health: oversleeping.

While it may seem like oversleeping would be a good thing – after all, you're getting more rest, and who does not want more sleep?! – it can have serious health consequences. Here's what you need to know about oversleeping.


Is it possible to get too much sleep?


Hypersomnia, or excessive daytime sleepiness, is a real disorder that a doctor can diagnose. People with hypersomnia may sleep for long periods of time (10+ hours) and still feel tired when they wake up.

The body's natural circadian rhythms also play a role in how much sleep you need. These rhythms, controlled by an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, tell your body when it's time to sleep and wake up.

Circadian rhythms can be affected by some factors, including age, light exposure, and stress levels. When these rhythms are out of sync, it can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia or hypersomnia.


Is oversleeping unhealthy?

While oversleeping is not as common as insomnia, it can be just as problematic for your health. Regularly sleeping for more than nine hours a night has been linked with several health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Oversleeping can also affect your mental health. People who sleep too much are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. They may also have difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

Studies have also found that oversleeping can increase your risk of death. In one study, people who slept for more than ten hours a day were 30% more likely to die prematurely than those who slept for eight hours.


Why do people sleep too much?


There are many reasons why people may sleep for too long. Often, it is related to an underlying health condition, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or depression.

Certain medications can also cause drowsiness and make staying awake during the day difficult. These include antihistamines, sedatives, and some antidepressants.

A change in sleep habits can also lead to oversleeping. For example, if you are used to sleeping eight hours a night but suddenly start sleeping for ten hours, you may be oversleeping. Sleeping more can happen after retirement, pregnancy, or after a long flight.


Will sleep medication make me sleep too much?

Taking too much sleep medication can lead to oversleeping. Sleeping pills are designed to help you sleep for eight hours. Taking more than the recommended dose can make you sleep for more extended periods can be dangerous.

There are two main types of sleeping aids: those that act on the central nervous system and those that do not. Central nervous system sleeping aids include benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines. These drugs slow down the nervous system, making you drowsy.

Non-central nervous system sleeping aids include antihistamines and melatonin. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, a chemical that helps keep you awake. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep.

I do not advise taking Sleeping pills, but under certain situations and with your primary care doctor's supervision, they can be effective for short-term use if a medical condition is causing sleep disturbance. Sleeping pill side effects can include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.


How much sleep is too much?


Your sleep needs can change depending on your age, lifestyle, and health. The National Sleep Foundation guidelines recommend that adults sleep for seven to nine hours daily. Most people need this amount of sleep to feel rested and alert during the day.

However, some people may need more or less sleep depending on their individual needs. Some people can function well with only six hours of sleep, while others may need nine hours or more.

The best way to find out how much sleep you need is to experiment and see how you feel after different amounts of sleep. Pay attention to your energy levels, mood, and overall well-being. If you feel well-rested and energetic during the day, you are probably getting enough sleep. Pay attention to how you feel more than paying attention to the hours.


If I sleep over 8 hours a night, could I be depressed?


Depression is marked by a persistent low mood and loss of interest in activities that someone once enjoyed. Someone who is depressed may also experience fatigue and difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite, and weight gain or loss.

Oversleeping can be a symptom of depression. There are several possible explanations. Depression can cause fatigue and make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. The low mood associated with depression can make it hard to fall asleep at night.

In some cases, people with depression may sleep for too long as a way to escape from their negative thoughts and feelings. Oversleeping can also be a side effect of certain antidepressants.


Is alcohol making me sleep too much?


Drinking alcohol slows down the activity of the central nervous system, can lead to drowsiness, and make it difficult to stay awake. Alcohol also disrupts the normal sleep cycle, which can lead to insomnia.

Drinking alcohol before bed can make you fall asleep more quickly, but it will also make you sleep more lightly and wake up more often at night. As a result, you may not feel well-rested in the morning.

If you find that you are sleeping more than usual after drinking alcohol, it is best to cut back on your intake or avoid drinking altogether.


How can I stop oversleeping?


If you think you may be oversleeping, it's important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. If your oversleeping is due to a medication, your doctor may be able to adjust the dosage or switch you to a different drug.

If there's no medical reason for your oversleeping, there are a few things you can do to help regulate your sleep patterns:

● Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.

● Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both of these substances can disrupt sleep.

● Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Winding down for 30 minutes before sleep can help you fall asleep more easily.

● Avoid watching television or working on the computer in bed. The bed should be associated with sleep, relaxation, and sex.

● Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Our body temperature drops by 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and we sleep much better in a cooler environment.


Conclusion


It's tempting to believe that oversleeping is harmless, like eating too much ice cream or staying up too late. But the truth is, oversleeping comes with a long list of consequences that can seriously affect your health and can clue you in that something else may be the source of the issue.

If you regularly sleep more than nine hours a night, it's time to take action. Talk to your doctor about underlying medical conditions that could be causing your oversleeping, and make lifestyle changes to improve your sleep habits. With a little effort, you can get back on track and enjoy the benefits of a good night's sleep.