“You have to get enough sleep if you want to stay healthy.” It’s a common phrase that emphasizes how important getting enough sleep is to our overall well-being. So if sleep is that important, it would make sense that the more we get of it, the better we will feel. However, the idea that there is no such thing as getting “too much sleep” is one that is totally wrong. In fact, chronic oversleeping can lead to a wide variety of health issues.
While the recommended amount of sleep for adults varies based on age, activity level, and lifestyle habits, generally speaking, most adults should get an average of between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Sure, it’s okay to sleep in a little late on the weekends, but if you find yourself requiring over nine hours of sleep on a consistent basis, or feel that you don’t feel well–rested when you don’t, it may be a sign of a another issue.
For some, oversleeping could be due to a condition known as hypersomnia, which causes people to require unusually long periods of sleep at night and suffer from extreme sleepiness throughout the day. Those with hypersomnia also have low levels of energy, experience problems remembering things and do not feel recharged from a nap like the rest of us do.
Hypersomnia is not the only reason one might require extra sleep. Other reasons may include the use of certain substances, such as alcohol or some prescription medications. Obstructive sleep apnea may also be another reason why someone needs more sleep as those with this condition have their sleep cycles obstructed, making them feel less rested. Lastly, depression is another leading cause for oversleep in many individuals as those who are clinically depressed are more lethargic and more likely to want to stay in bed.
Regardless of the reason why someone sleeps too much, the condition needs to be addressed as studies have indicated that oversleep can lead to many other health problems, including:
- Heart Disease
- Back Pain
- Cognitive Impairment
- Fertility Issues
In addition to, or perhaps as a result of these other issues, those who oversleep have been found to have higher death rates than people who sleep seven to nine hours a night.
If you are oversleeping, it is important to address the reason why. If it is caused by alcohol or prescription medications, look to cut back or eliminate those substances from your daily routine. If you think you are oversleeping due to depression seek help from a mental health professional. Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with hypersomnia or another medical condition, treating the disorder may help you return to a normal night’s sleep.
You should also look to ensure that the sleep you get is restful by practicing good sleep habits. Try to establish a set bedtime and wake-up time, avoid eating a heavy meal or consuming caffeine before bed, and maintain a comfortable sleep environment. Exercising before bed can also help you relax and fall asleep easier.
Jamaica Hospital offers a comprehensive sleep center, which diagnoses and treats a wide variety of sleep disorders. If you believe you require too much sleep, we can help you figure out why. To make an appointment at our Sleep Center, call 718-206-5916.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.