We all know dragging ourselves up in the morning with dark circle eyes from no sleep is probably one of the worst things we can do to our health. Getting just a few hours of sleep contributes to deadly diseases in our bodies, even if we are chasing a big salary. And our work culture, even remote work, rewards those who “sleep when they’re dead,” a saying that might ring true if we follow it.
But getting too much sleep can be risky to our health too.
Most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep to live healthy, productive lives. But studies suggest getting more than that could be a sign of something bad, or cause it.
“We don’t exactly know the cause and effect,” he says. “It probably works the other way, that when you are sick, it leads to more sleep time,” says Vsevolod Polotsky, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in an article they covered on the topic.
Oversleeping means sleeping, on a regular basis, beyond the 7 or 8 hours most adults need.
Other symptoms of oversleeping are:
- Having a hard time waking up in the morning (including sleeping through an alarm)
- The trouble actually starting the day, getting out of bed
- Constant fatigue or grogginess
- Trouble concentrating
But the facts are clear, oversleep is disordered sleep. There are risks and links to getting into bed for half a day or taking too many naps, and the links to oversleep are many.
Oversleep can cause us to develop bad health and disease
So what’s so bad about getting a little more shuteye? You might be doing no favors for your goal of six-pack abs. Discussion from the Sleep Foundation shows oversleeping can slow the metabolism. Men who oversleep, 10+ hours, tend to have more belly fat and higher triglycerides, a bad combination as aging kicks in.
Oversleeping can cause the behavior changes and sluggishness linked to diabetes, heart disease and issues with remembering things. Getting too much rest also causes us to be groggy or to be unmotivated, and therefore less happy with our lives.
Oversleep can also be a symptom of something wrong with our health
If you can’t seem to wake up or spend tons of time in bed, it might be time to go see a doctor about what’s causing it, whether a neurological and/or mental, or even physical condition.
There’s one cause of oversleeping many older people face. Sleep apnea is common in people over 40, and the cause, not being able to breathe right, causes fatigue throughout the day for many. Then later in the day, we might feel the need to nap or get to bed early to catch up on those lost hours we spent losing.
Major depression is linked to oversleeping. And when depression is not treated by a doctor or professional, it can lead to too much sleep and even-lessened ability to make decisions. People with insomnia but also hypersomnia, getting too much sleep, have higher risks of suicide ideation. Oversleep is also linked to manic-depression, depression-anxiety and other conditions that often need medicine and therapy to be addressed.
Oversleeping can also be a condition itself
Hypersomnia is an umbrella term for a host of sleep disorders a person can have, including the condition known as Narcolepsy. There are two types of narcolepsy, according to the Hypersomnia Foundation, and both can cause us to feel fatigued during the day or need lots of rest. There are a host of other conditions, some serious and some not, that can be best diagnosed by a physician. If you find yourself nodding off and constantly needing naps, it might be time to see a sleep specialist to rule out neurological issues.
Oversleeping and other factors
Your age plays a big role, in your 50s and beyond you’re probably going to need more sleep than when you were in your 20s. And your genetics might mean you just need around 9 hrs or so. But you should read up and talk to a doctor if you think you have any reason to feel concerned.
Tips for combating oversleeping
Get the blue light out. Don’t have computers, tablets, smartwatches or phones near you, and don’t look at a screen at least a half-hour before you go to bed.
Go to bed at the same time! If you do need 9 hours, then make sure you get it. Spending the weekend or your coffee break catching up isn’t great for your social life or your work reputation. Take the time to figure it out, and respect, having sleep hygiene the same way you brush your teeth for oral hygiene. Happy ZZZs!