Insomnia

Long Sleeping or Oversleeping

What is Considered Oversleeping?

Unfortunately, there is no pin point answer to this question. There are still many facts about sleep that are yet to be discovered. How many hours of sleep would make one fall into the category of excessive sleep has not been defined explicitly yet. But still, sleep lasting for more than the usual duration, which is 7-9 hours, is considered excessive. This duration is a normal guideline that medical practitioners follow, as this has been established by several sleep pattern studies in the past. The amount of sleep needed by the body varies according to age, health and other factors. It has been associated with a number of health issues from diabetes to depression.

A Tentative Definition

Adults need around seven hours of sleep a day, while children and teens require about ten hours. Long sleep occurs when someone regularly sleeps for at least an hour more than these usual sleeping hours. Some long sleepers need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night to be fully refreshed for the next day. This condition usually starts from childhood, and does not occur due to a change in emotional or physical health.

Watch the video below where Dr. Robert Hernandez, a renowned psychologist, is speaking about the effects of sleeping too much:

Signs and Symptoms of long sleep

  • Sleeping for more than 10 hours per day on a regular basis
  • Showing oversleeping patterns from childhood
  • Feeling tired on days when you have slept for less than 10 hours the previous night

Causes of Too Much Sleep

Some common causes include:

  • Personality traits, like worrying, nervousness or being shy
  • Other sleep problems, like sleep apnea
  • Depression
  • Substance or alcohol abuse

‘7’ Harmful Effects of Sleeping Too Much

Diabetes

A study conducted on 9,000 Americans proves that there is a connection between oversleeping and diabetes. People who sleep more than nine hours have higher chances of diabetes. To be more precise, those sleeping for more than 9 hours have a 50 percent higher chance of developing diabetes when compared to people who sleep for a normal duration of 7-8 hours. The same risk is seen in people who sleep too little (less than 5 hours). Oversleeping might be related to some underlying problem that can lead to diabetes.

Headaches

Sleeping too much is said to cause headache in some people. This is due to the effect of oversleeping on certain neurotransmitters of the brain. A good sleep increases the serotonin levels in our body which help in improving our mood. But, excessive sleep causes an interaction between the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine which can lead to headaches. Sleeping for long hours in the day will disturb the night-time sleep. This causes head pain in the morning.

Depression

Depression is usually linked to insomnia. However, around 15% people suffering from depression indulge in too much sleep. This might worsen the condition as a regular healthy sleeping pattern is required to treat depression.

Obesity

Too much sleep can make you obese. A research shows that people who sleep for nine hours or more are at 21% higher risk of becoming obese. A particular study conducted on 9,000 Americans revealed that people who sleep for more than 9-10 hours in a day fall into the higher risk category of developing obesity. This study in a way proves that obesity can definitely be associated with excessive sleep duration. This link between oversleeping and obesity remains the same even when diet and exercise is taken into consideration.

Back pain

To treat back pain you need to cut down your exercise program. However, some level of physical work is required. It is also recommended that one needs to maintain the normal sleeping pattern. Excessive sleep impacts certain muscles in our back eventually resulting in back pain.

Heart diseases

A study that was conducted on about 72,000 women showed that women who slept for more than nine hours were at 38% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Early Death

People who sleep too much have higher death rates. People who sleep for more than 9 hours in a day, for some reason are known to die early when compared to those who sleep for 7-8 hours. This might be because low socio-economic status and depression are also related to oversleeping. These factors can be responsible for increased mortality rate among people who have the habit of sleeping too much.

Oversleeping is definitely a disorder that needs medical assistance. Considering the above harmful effects on the body, it is best to seek immediate medical assistance if you are suffering from this problem.

Sleeping Too Much – How do we Treat It?

Oversleeping is not a condition or disease that requires treatment. One thing we should understand is that, oversleeping is a symptom. Sometimes, suffering from various medical ailments can lead to this symptom. So, it is necessary to treat that medical ailment that is causing the condition.

See a sleep specialist, if your sleep deprivation affects daily life. The doctor can suggest methods of increasing the quantity and quality of your sleep. Follow the below steps to create more time for sleeping:

  • Hit the sack earlier. Just 15 minutes extra sleep a night can make you feel more refreshed the next day.
  • Reduce consumption of caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants that disturb sleep.
  • Try to take a short nap during the day, if possible.
Improve the Quality of your Sleep

In order to overcome sleeping for way too long in the morning, you need to improve the quality of your sleep. This can be done by making sure that the time you spend in bed is maximally inductive of good sleep. This might mean regulating the temperature or light conditions in the bedroom, or making sure that no sounds are disturbing your sleep at night. It is also important to find a comfortable position, which means that the bed and bedding must be something you find relaxing. This will enable you to sleep better. By sleeping soundly it is often easier to wake up in the morning.

Do not Sleep too Much

Some people have a tendency to sleep more than they need. Say you sleep ten hours a night it is likely that you are sleeping more than necessary. You can remedy this by reducing the amount of sleep you get by small portions. You can try to sleep half an hour less every night until you reach a good balance between the time you spend sleeping and the time you are awake.

Set a Sleep Schedule

You can also help symptoms of oversleeping by regulating when you sleep. Stick to a sleep schedule that requires you to go to sleep the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning. Remember that you should do this even on weekends. This should help you with getting up in the morning and avoiding oversleeping.

A good night’s sleep is quintessential in order to have a refreshing and energetic day ahead of us. While sleeping less is a problem for sure, oversleeping is also a problem in itself. Like we know, too much of anything is quite harmful; so sleeping too much also would not help our bodies much. And as mentioned above, oversleeping is known to cause several serious complications like diabetes, obesity, heart diseases and even death, sometimes.

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