Sleep: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?
Is it possible to get too much sleep? Many of us wish we could get more sleep than we do; but apparently, it is possible to get too much sleep, which may have a negative impact on your health.
How Much Sleep is Normal?
At different points in your life and development, your sleep needs will vary. Generally speaking, though, healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, sources say. “Too much sleep” could therefore be defined as sleep amounts that exceed 9 or 10 hours in a 24-hour period.
Why Do Some People Sleep Too Much?
There is a condition called hypersomnia, which causes sufferers to have an almost constant need for sleep. People with hypersomnia never seem to get enough sleep, and feel groggy and sleepy all day, even if they get a normal amount of sleep.
For others, sleeping for long hours is simply something they enjoy, perhaps to catch up on the weekends after a week of little sleep.
Depression is also a condition that is associated with an increased need or desire for sleep. Sufferers of depression sometimes find it hard just to get out of bed.
Can Getting Too Much Sleep Be Harmful?
According to several studies and sources, the answer to this question is yes. Getting too much sleep may result in the following:
- Increased mortality, or earlier death than those who get normal amounts of sleep. Studies have shown that people who sleep too much die sooner than normal sleepers.
- A greater risk of stroke has been observed in those who get too much sleep.
- Too much weight and too much sleep may go hand-in-hand. Studies have also shown a correlation between those who sleep too much and those who weigh too much.
- Studies have shown that those who sleep too much are at greater risk for developing diabetes.
How Can You Know If You’re Getting Too Much Sleep?
Because sleep needs vary among individuals, it can be challenging to discern whether or you are suffering from too little or too much sleep. If you are struggling with sleepiness during the day and have trouble sleeping at night, or if you can’t seem to get up in the morning no matter how much you sleep, here are some facts and suggestions that may help.
- Keep a sleep diary, noting what time you go to sleep and what time you awaken, and how you feel during the day. Note times you feel sleepy and times you feel energetic, and look for connections.
- It’s said that humans are biologically wired to feel less alert in the middle of the afternoon and in the middle of the night, so if you find yourself sleepy at these times there may not be a problem with your sleep patterns.
- Are you overweight? If you find that you can’t keep weight off no matter how much you exercise or diet, it’s possible that too much sleep is the culprit.
- How much do you rely on caffeine?