Too Much Sleep Could Be Bad For Your Health

Few things beat sleeping in until noon on a Saturday — especially after five days of rising at the crack of dawn to the shrill chirp of an alarm clock.

Yet when you finally wake from your slumber, you feel worn out. Tired. Fatigued. And you have a headache.

You can’t catch a break, can you?

Well, it turns out that too much sleep isn’t a solution to your tiredness. Oversleeping leaves you feeling sluggish because it throws your biological clock out of whack.

But like skimping on sleep, sleeping too much may be bad for your health. Read on to learn more about the drawbacks of oversleeping.

How Much Sleep Should You Get?

Sleep needs vary from person to person. The number of hours you need each night depends on several factors.

  • Genetics: Genetics has a large hand in determining your circadian rhythm and sleep drive.
  • Activity levels: Sleep is one of our greatest recovery mechanisms. Highly active people — such as athletes or manual labor employees — will need more sleep.
  • Health: Again, sleep is recovery. When you’re sick or are coping with a disease, your body needs more rest so it can have the energy to make you healthy again.
  • Stress levels: When life is calm, sleep is easier to come by. However, when you’re under stress — whether due to money, work, school, family, or something else — you may find it harder to fall and stay asleep.

With all that said, you should sleep between 7-9 hours of sleep per night if you’re an adult, according to the Sleep Health Journal. Older adults need a little less at 7-8 hours per night.

Some people do need more sleep, but you’re unlikely to fall into that group, as they make up about 2% of the population.

Causes of Oversleeping

Medical conditions may be the culprit behind your oversleeping, such as the following.

  • Bruxism: Bruxism involves grinding your teeth unconsciously. It can occur while you’re awake or asleep.
  • Depression: Oversleeping is a possible symptom of depression.
  • Hypersomnia: A disorder characterized by daytime tiredness that isn’t helped by a full night’s sleep.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): An condition that causes an irresistible urge to move the leg, keeping you awake, thus making you oversleep.
  • Sleep apnea: A breathing disorder during which breathing stops and starts several times throughout a night’s sleep. When breathing stops, you momentarily wake up to gasp for air, then fall back asleep. Consequently, you sleep longer and feel fatigued during the day.

Additionally, drugs and alcohol may lead to oversleeping. Using these substances close to bedtime can hurt your sleep quality, potentially making you oversleep. You’ll also feel more tired the next day, creating a cycle of oversleeping and daytime sleepiness.

Health Problems Linked to Oversleeping

Studies have linked several health problems to oversleeping. These include the following.

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Cognitive impairment

Keep in mind that researchers haven’t determined if oversleeping causes many of these conditions or if it’s the other way around.

How to Stop Oversleeping

1. Avoid Sleeping In on the Weekends

We know how great it feels to wake up whenever you want on the weekends. Unfortunately, sleeping in can disrupt your progress towards a regular sleep schedule.

Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Yes, there will be weekend nights where you’re out late. In this case, it’s ok to sleep in, but get back on your normal schedule the next day.

2. Use Light Properly

Light influences your internal clock, so using it can help you wake up at a regular time each day. Open your blinds so that light can shine in when morning comes.

Then, when bedtime approaches, put away any electronic devices — the blue light could be interfering with your sleep. If you want to read before bed, opt for a hardcover or paperback over an eBook.

3. Put Your Alarm Clock Across the Room

Ideally, you wouldn’t need an alarm clock to wake up. Following the first couple of tips would help you wake up at the right time, every time.

But if you still need an alarm clock, put it on the other side of your room and set some obstacles in the way. That way, you have to move things around and walk over to your alarm to stop it. You’ll be awake by then.

There are also a variety of alarm clocks that make you complete tasks to turn them off, such as solve a math problem or return an item that the alarm clock releases.

4. Talk to Your Doctor

If you’re doing everything right and you’re still oversleeping, the problem may be medical. Talk to your doctor about your sleep issues. They may recommend a sleep study.

Sleep studies involve an overnight stay at a lab that is set up to monitor your sleep. The sleep specialists there will monitor you as you sleep and identify any symptoms of sleep disorders they see.

In Summary

We get it. Sleeping in feels great. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. A habit of oversleeping can make you feel drowsy throughout the day — and on the worst occasions, cause you to sleep through your alarm and be late to work!

Not to mention the potential adverse health effects.

Once you get on a regular sleep schedule, you’ll feel ready to attack the day, every day. Get your sleep in rhythm, and that fantastic “refreshed” feeling can be had again.