In general, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Seriously, what’s another couple of hours? It’s not horrible to sleep for more than nine hours, right? Wrong. This could be an indicator of a more serious problem. So, how much sleep is too much?
While there is no universally agreed-upon “correct” amount of sleep for adults, 9+ hours per night is generally considered excessive.
There could be a number of causes for your extended slumber. Below, we’ve listed the top 10 reasons why you might be sleeping too much.
You may have wondered, “Why do I sleep so much?” The question “why do I usually feel so tired?” If you or someone you know suffers from chronic sleepiness, as evidenced by excessive naps during the day and/or prolonged periods of sleep at night, this article will shed light on the causes of this behavior and suggest ways to combat it.
Is Excessive Sleepiness Common?
You’re not alone in puzzling over your drowsiness. Hypersomnia, or excessive sleepiness, affects almost 40% of the population at some point.
Both severe drowsiness and sleepiness throughout the day are referred to medically as hypersomnia. Daytime sleepiness or longer-than-usual sleep duration are hallmarks of this disorder (usually way beyond the recommended 7-9 hours). Many people who suffer from hypersomnia have difficulties keeping themselves awake and can doze off at any moment, day or night. This can be embarrassing at the office but is much more dangerous behind the wheel.
Should I Be Concerned if I Get Excessive Sleep?
You already know that getting enough sleep is vital to your health. Yet, not every incident of extreme sleepiness should be treated as a medical emergency. When fatigue strikes, it’s not unusual to sleep for two nights straight. However, if fatigue is impacting your daily life, you may want to think about making some modifications or visiting a doctor to rule out sleep issues.
Why? Because sleep disturbances can affect how you sleep, which in turn can have negative effects on your health, safety, and quality of life, all of which contribute to the diagnosis of hypersomnia. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy, which are typically associated with daytime sleepiness, can actually lead to nighttime sleepiness and daytime fatigue. There are many major health hazards associated with hypersomnia, including diabetes, heart disease, and even death.
The causes of your tiredness might be explored if you find that you are sleeping too much. Some of these changes in sleep behavior may be minor and transient, while others may be more problematic.
Oversleeping vs. hypersomnia: What does it mean when you sleep a lot?
An adult who sleeps more than the recommended 7 to 9 hours per day is considered to be oversleeping.
When a person sleeps 7 to 9 hours at night but still has trouble waking up and functioning normally throughout the day, they may be suffering from hypersomnia. Daytime sleepiness that persists after getting the necessary amount of sleep at night is a symptom of a medical disease known as hypersomnia. A typical sign of sleep disorders including narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is excessive daytime sleepiness, or hypersomnia.
Other symptoms that may accompany hypersomnia are:
- repeating patterns of being overly drowsy during the day or needing more time to sleep at night.
- Daily naps are taken frequently (even at inappropriate times like at work or during meals).
- Feeling exhausted even after a snooze.
- To have problems waking up or to feel bewildered upon awakening.
- displaying additional symptoms, such as:
- lackluster in terms of energy levels.
- As a result, both speech and thought slow down.
- lack of hunger.
- Issues with recall.
What causes oversleeping and extreme tiredness?
How well or poorly you sleep affects your entire body and, by extension, your daily functioning and quality of life. You may not be able to get to sleep because of issues with your health, your job, or your living situation.
There are a number of potential causes for your excessive slumber.
1. Not getting enough sleep
If you consistently receive less than 7 hours of sleep at night and find yourself dozing off during the day, you may not be getting enough sleep at night.
More sleep isn’t always an option (we see you new parents, nightshift workers, and constant WFH-ers). A return to regular sleeping patterns may be possible, though, provided you make getting enough sleep a priority.
2. A hostile sleep environment
If you could make any changes to your bedroom, what would they be? The three main environmental factors that can disrupt a good night’s sleep are ambient noise, temperature, and light.
Cosleeping with a best friend In addition, Netflix may present issues. Watching television or using a computer after dark can both be quite distracting and extremely bright.
3. Sleep and neurological disorders
More than eighty different sleep disorders exist, each with potentially disruptive effects. However, several of these illnesses can cause you to sleep excessively or to have problems remaining awake during the day.
These are some of the most typical offenders:
- Narcolepsy. Technically classified as a neurological condition, narcolepsy disrupts normal sleep-wake cycles. The predominant symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness, although other symptoms include muscle weakness (cataplexy), sleep paralysis, and hallucinations. Many people with narcolepsy report experiencing “sleep attacks,” or bouts of extreme sleepiness.
- Parasomnia. Sleepwalking, chatting, and acting awake during sleep (like folding clothes if you’re a motivated sleepwalker) are all symptoms of this sleep disorder.
- Insomnia of the legs. Sometimes people have trouble falling asleep because their legs hurt, tingle, or make them want to get up and move.
- Sleep apnea with obstruction (OSA). Periodically when sleeping, those who suffer from OSA stop breathing. Sleep disruptions are linked to a variety of health issues and can leave people feeling drained and exhausted.
4. Circadian rhythm problems
The amount of light entering your eyes during the day is directly related to how well your brain controls your circadian rhythm. This aids in maintaining a healthy range of internal conditions, such as core temperature, metabolic rate, and levels of tiredness and alertness.
Too much or too little light, as well as irregular schedules (such as shift work and jet lag), can disrupt a person’s natural circadian rhythm.
Light exposure (natural or artificial) early in the day and total darkness during sleep are both proven methods for minimizing circadian rhythm disturbances. In doing so, you may be able to regulate your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep.
5. Alcohol use
While alcohol consumption before night may induce drowsiness, it really interrupts sleep to the point where you’ll feel exhausted the following day.
That’s because alcohol disrupts your REM sleep, making it more difficult to fall back to sleep after the first few hours.
6. Injuries and pain
Pain, whether it be ongoing from an accident or a condition, can make it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Additionally, some prescription pain relievers have a drowsy side effect that might make it difficult to stay awake during the day.
7. Being sick
The inflammatory reaction triggered by an infection or disease increases the demand for sleep. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body’s natural defenses are weakened and you’re more likely to fall victim to illness.
If you’re unwell, your body needs the extra sleep to recover, so don’t fight it.
8. Depression and anxiety
Insomnia and excessive fatigue are common symptoms of depression and anxiety, however their severity varies from person to person.
People with depression may have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, may sleep too much, feel restless, or experience acute weariness.
An underlying medical issue or a lack of quality sleep may also contribute to depressive symptoms.
Disturbed sleep, accompanied by both difficulty falling asleep and maintaining a restful slumber, is a common side effect of anxiety and worry.
The specific relationship between anxiety and sleeplessness is unclear, but both are very prevalent.
Talking to a doctor or therapist might help you figure out the best strategy for restoring normal sleep patterns if you suspect that worry or depression are influencing them.
9. Underlying medical conditions
There are a wide variety of medical disorders that can result in weariness. Here are several diseases and disorders that can cause you to tire easily:
- Syndrome of persistent fatigue (CFS). A medical condition in which physical activity exacerbates symptoms such as extreme exhaustion, disturbed sleep, and discomfort.
- Hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone levels that are too low are the hallmark of an underactive gland. Because of this, you will feel exhausted.
- Anemia. Anemia, which can be caused by a lack of iron or vitamin B-12, is a leading cause of fatigue.
- Fibromyalgia. Condition characterized by extensive physical pain, as well as other symptoms including exhaustion, disturbed sleep, memory loss, and emotional instability.
Please read the warning labels before taking any new medication, whether it’s prescribed or over-the-counter. Some drugs often cause drowsiness as a side effect. Most likely perpetrators include, among others:
- drugs that calm and soothe the mind, such as tranquilizers and antidepressants.
- drugs used to treat pain.
- Medication for quelling queasiness.
Is sleeping too much a problem? Risks of oversleeping
Lack of sleep or low quality sleep has been linked to a variety of negative health outcomes. Stress, insulin resistance, and overeating are all possible side effects. Long-term sleep deprivation is also linked to an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Extreme tiredness and the inability to prevent yourself from dozing off can increase the likelihood of an accident or injury occurring at any time, but especially while operating a motor vehicle or performing a task that calls for special attention to safety.
Should you get help if you’re sleeping a lot?
There may be a more serious underlying cause of excessive sleepiness. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, especially if you’ve been feeling unusually weary for no apparent reason. They can help you figure out what’s going on and give you advice on how to fix it so you can get a better night’s rest and feel better generally.
Because of the interconnected nature of sleep, mental, and physical health, enhancing any one of these areas is likely to have positive effects on the others.
Tips to prevent sleeping too much
Is it time to finally conquer your sleepiness and stop missing your alarm or dozing off at work? If your excessive napping is not due to a medical problem, using the following tips may help you get some shut-eye:
- Maintain a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- You should exercise for 20-30 minutes per day, but avoid doing so in the late evening, as this can disrupt sleep.
- Keep caffeine consumption to a minimum in the evening.
- You shouldn’t drink alcohol before sleeping.
- Do something soothing before bed, like taking a bath or reading.
- It’s important to provide the ideal conditions for sleeping, which include complete darkness, a lack of noise, and a cool temperature. Put the TV and any other electrical devices in another room.
- If you’re having trouble nodding off, try getting out of bed and doing something else until you’re tired.
There is a wide range of individual preferences when it comes to the conditions and timing of sleep. However, there may be something wrong if you routinely sleep for more than 7 to 9 hours per night or if you find yourself nodding off during the day.
Take care of your sleep health by making the necessary adjustments to your sleeping arrangements and discussing your sleep issues with your doctor. It’s possible that your extreme fatigue is the result of a medical issue or the side effect of a drug.