Are You Sleeping Too Much?

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:27 pm |
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Are You Sleeping Too Much?

(Photo by BigStock / lanakhvorostova)

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep (it’s called beauty rest for a reason, people!). Sleep can help improve your memory, spur creativity, sharpen attention, help with weight loss, lower stress, and reduce depression, among other things. Whoa, I’m getting sleepy just listing the benefits!

But did you know over-sleeping can cause negative effects to your health?

It’s like if you run too much and cause damage to your knees. Or if you eat too many carrots and your skin turns orange! Okay, that may have never really happened to anyone, but it totally could!

Some oversleeping is fine, say if you’re coming off an illness or injury. There are also specific medical disorders associated with over-sleeping, the most common being hypersomnia. Instead of having trouble sleeping, hypersomniacs can fall asleep just about anywhere. Ever see someone asleep at an airport? (Just kidding, those aren’t hypersomniacs, those people are just crazy!) Hypersomnia is much more serious, people with this condition will fall asleep on the job, out at the theatre, or even mid-conversation. Unfortunately, unlike the power nap (my favorite kind of nap), hypersomniacs reap no benefit from their sleep; they tend to feel disoriented, anxious, and – believe or not – restless.

For the rest of us, and even without a medical condition, oversleeping can have negative impacts on our health. It can result in headaches, depression, and back pain. Some studies have even shown oversleeping to be linked with diabetes and heart disease.

Oversleeping is considered to be over 9 to 11+ hours of sleep. What often causes the symptoms above is not just oversleeping, but an irregular sleep cycle (as it’s hard to get a full 11 hours of sleep everyday!). When you oversleep, it often affects the next night’s sleep, and throws off your cycle. The following day, you’re tired, groggy, and disoriented. The pattern repeats as you then sleep too much the night after.

If you do believe you’re oversleeping most days of the week, focus on setting a time to go to bed and a time to wake up; make it the same time every day. Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine close to your bedtime. Exercise regularly to help burn off additional energy you have from the day.

What do you think? Are you over-sleeping? How much time do you think you normally need?

Waking up cranky, groggy, or with headaches? You might be sleeping too much!