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Sleeping too much: tired man asleep

When it comes to sleep, everyone keeps talking about sleep deprivation and the risks that it might cause, however, oversleeping is also associated with serious problems that not everyone is aware of. 

So, if you feel that you’re sleeping too much and cannot and have been suffering from excessive sleeping quite some time, then it’s time to look reality in the eye and look for the problem that caused it. 

In this guide, you’ll find out how to evaluate whether or not you’re sleeping too much, what issues can hide behind it, what kind of problems it can cause you in the long run, and, of course, how to fix this problem of yours. 

Sleeping Too Much: the Medical Term 

Hypersomnia - a neurological disorder that refers to sleeping too much, and excessive sleepiness during the day. It affects 4% to 6% of the population[1]. Here are the symptoms of hypersomnia: 

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per day, however, if you sleep more than 10 and still feel tired, then it might be an issue. 
  • Sleep drunkenness. Many people suffering from hypersomnia say that they often wake up feeling confused, disoriented and feel the need to return back to sleep.
  • Taking long naps during the day. If you take naps that last 2-3 hours after having a long nighttime sleep, then you should be concerned. 
  • Difficulty to concentrate. Since Hypersomnia patients often feel the lack of sleep and find it difficult to wake up, the ability to concentrate can also be an issue.

Sleeping too much: man exhausted

About 5% of adults[2] experience excessive sleepiness during the day, and, as you can see, it can have a major impact on a person’s health, quality of life, and even safety. 

If some of the symptoms seem familiar to you, then visit a doctor and discuss your concerns - those symptoms can be linked to conditions that are easily treatable. 

How to Evaluate if You’re Sleeping Too Much? 

When you say that you’re sleeping too much, you should know that each individual perceives it differently. While some individuals sleep 10 hours per day and believe that it’s completely normal, others think that 8 hours of sleep is too much. So, how it actually is? 

65 studies[3] representing 3,577 healthy individuals aged 5–102 showed that young adults (18-15 years old) and adults (26-64 years old) should sleep 7-9 hours per night, whereas older adults (older than 64 years old) need 7-8 hours of sleep. 

What’s even more important to understand is that sleep quantity is not the only aspect that matters, sleep quality and sleep timing (when you go to sleep and when you wake up) are also crucial. 

Sleeping too much: daytime sleepiness

Therefore, if you’re sleeping 7 hours and wake up fully rested, it means that you had quality nighttime sleep. On the other hand, some individuals wake up tired after sleeping for 10 hours. It could mean that they had frequent nightly interruptions or experience disruptions in their sleep cycle and go to sleep way too late. 

Excessive Sleeping: What’s Behind it? 

There are many sleep disorders and mental issues associated with excessive sleeping. Even though they’re not always linked directly, it’s something that you should be aware of. 

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects your sleep-wake cycles and causes the inability to regulate them. Here are the main symptoms that can signalize that you’re suffering from narcolepsy:

  • Sleeping too much and excessive sleeping during the night. 
  • Muscle loss also called Cataplexy. Individuals who experience this problem say that they feel sagging face muscles, weakness in their neck and knees. These experiences are often triggered by sudden emotional reactions, such as anger, laugh or fear. 
  • Nightly interruptions - you might experience multiple wake-ups during the night. 
  • Sleep paralysis. This condition is also often associated with sleep paralysis that is the inability to speak or move when you wake up while seeing and hearing things that are actually not there. 
  • Hallucinations. Seeing what's not actually there.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Sleep Apnea[4] is a sleeping disorder that can create pauses in your breathing when you’re sleeping. It can last from a few seconds to even a few minutes and often goes together with loud snoring. Thus, if your partner or you are a snorer, this might be the problem that caused it. 

Sleeping too much: sleep apnea

People who suffer from sleep apnea often experience: 

  • Sleeping too much, excessive daytime sleepiness. 
  • Problems with vision. 
  • Difficulty to focus, the lack of alertness. 

Since obstructive sleep apnea is associated with the lack of alertness, you might get into various driving accidents and work-related incidents. When not treated, this condition can cause serious health issues, such as diabetes and hearth problems. What is more, there’s a chance of dying due to the lack of oxygen. 

Depression

Depression can not only be the cause but also the result of excessive daytime sleepiness. It’s a disorder when you feel the low mood, lack of motivation, loss of interest in daily activities, even such that bring joy. 

It’s completely normal to feel depressed after shocking events, such as the loss of the loved ones. Moreover, some major symptoms of depression often include a decrease or increase in appetite and sleep. Thus, the answer to the question “why am I sleeping so much?” can be this issue. 

Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the metabolic disorders that’s identified by high levels of sugar in the blood. The symptoms include: 

  • The need to urinate frequently. 
  • High appetite.
  • Increased thirst. 

Sleeping too much: depressed man

Diabetes and sleep are widely connected. Diabetic people often experience sleep loss and low quality of sleep. Needless to say, even if you spend a generous amount of time per night resting, you might still be sleeping all the time due to the low quality of sleep that you’re experiencing. 

What is more, since diabetes is often associated with obesity, the treatment methods include maintaining normal body weight, sticking to a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and simply maintaining healthy habits, which also means avoiding alcohol and tobacco. 

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism[5] is an endocrine system disorder when there’s a lack of production of the thyroid hormone that’s produced by the thyroid gland. There are so many symptoms associated with this disorder, including: 

  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • The lack of energy 
  • Swelling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleepiness

Once again, this is a serious issue, and before making any assumptions on your own, you should always consult your doctor. 

Sleeping too much: alcohol and sleep

What is more, sleeping too much might be caused by other, non-medical reasons, such as: 

  • Medicine. Hypersomnia is often associated with such medication as sedatives, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and so much more. 
  • Alcohol. Alcohol consumption increases the production of melatonin and, therefore, lead to sleepiness. What is more, it’s known that it has a negative impact on the quality of sleep. Therefore, this can be the answer to your question “why do I sleep so much?”.

All things considered, even though you think that you found and answer to the question “why am I sleeping so much?”, I recommend not to play a doctor and simply contact a specialist for an examination to find out what’s the problem. 

Problems Caused by Excessive Sleepiness

If you’re not suffering from any health issues that I’ve discussed before, you still shouldn’t feel relieved. Even though I’m not happy to say this but sleeping too much can cause some serious issues in the future, if you continue not to do anything to solve this problem.

Let me present to you a few out of many problems that can be caused by sleeping too much. 

Hearth Disease

Sleeping too much and excessive daytime sleepiness is highly linked to heart diseases. Based on the research[6] performed by the James E. Gangwisch, women who experienced daytime sleepiness all the time had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who either never or very rarely experience this issue. 

Sleeping too much: sleep and medication

Based on another study[7], it’s clear that more women experience such symptoms of heart disease as sleep disturbance, shortness in breath and fatigue in comparison to men. So, even though such factors as your gender or family history cannot be changed, you can make sure to take care of yourself.

Higher Stroke Risk 

The majority of us imagine that only the lack of sleep can lead to some serious issues, however sometimes oversleeping is way worse than not getting enough sleep. 

The researchers from the University of Cambridge found out that people who suffer from sleep deprivation have 18% higher chances of stroke, while individuals who sleep more than 9 hours per day have 46% higher risk. The numbers are significant!

All things considered, if you often ask yourself “why do I sleep so much?”, then you should consult a specialist. Before you do that, start changing your habits to fix this problem.

Start Fixing Your Sleep Habits

Not all sleep disorders are treatable, however, you can solve many problems by taking into account tips that I’ve prepared for you. 

Good Sleeping Environment

You should sleep in a cool and dark environment. Make sure to turn out all the light sources to increase the production of melatonin. Also, make sure that you’re not sleeping too hot - the ideal bedroom temperature is about 65° F.

Sleeping too much: dark bedroom

Also, take care of the comfortable mattress, it has a major impact on your sleep. If you’re not sure what kind of mattress to choose, then you should check the most recommended alternatives

Healthy Habits

When talking about healthy habits, I always focus on healthy foods, active lifestyle and the consumption of alcohol, and tobacco.

Alcohol consumption increases the production of melatonin and leads to sleepiness. At first, it seems like alcohol is beneficial for your sleep, however, it has a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. Needless to say, it can lead to excessive sleeping during the day. 

What is more, you should take care of a balanced diet. Based on the data from a nationally representative sample[8], greater sleep variety is associated with normal sleep duration, whereas poor sleep habits are related to sleep deprivation and excessive sleepiness.

Sleeping too much: woman meditating

Moreover, researchers agree that exercising can promoter better nighttime sleep and sleep duration. It can also decrease the waking ups during the night, and even help to fight insomnia. 

Getting Enough Sunlight

Circadian clocks and daylight work together. In the evening, when the sun goes down, the production of melatonin (sleep hormone) increases and prepares you for sleep, whereas in the morning, the production of melatonin decreases and you slowly wake up. 

Since you’re reading this article because you’re worried about sleeping all the time, meaning that your sleep cycle might be disrupted. That being said, natural daylight increases the production of melatonin and helps you to feel more focused and refreshed. 

Minimize Sounds

Everyone sleeps better in a quiet environment without being interrupted by additional sounds. If your partner is snoring or you hear car sounds from the street, then you can try getting earplugs or putting on the earphones and listen to the relaxing music.

What is more, recently everyone started talking about white noise that masks all the other additional sounds in your room. It works not only for sensitive sleepers but also for babies. 

Conclusions

Therefore, the problem of sleeping too much and excessive daytime sleepiness is quite common among adults. The normal duration of the nighttime sleep is from 7 to 9 hours, everything beyond that can be considered excessive sleeping.

There are many conditions associated with excessive sleepiness, including Narcolepsy, Sleep Apnea, Depression, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, alcohol, and medication. Moreover, sleeping too much can lead to heart diseases and higher stroke risk. 

If you're suffering from this problem then you should immediately consult your doctor to find out "why am I sleeping so much?". 

However, while you're waiting for your appointment, you should try tips that can help you minimize this problem, including a good sleeping environment, healthy habits, getting enough sunlight, minimizing the sounds that disrupt your sleep, and, of course, getting a comfortable mattress


Scientific References
✓ Fact Checked

1. Yves Dauvilliers, Alain Buguet: 'Hypersomnia'

2. Young TB : 'Epidemiology of daytime sleepiness: definitions, symptomatology, and prevalence.'

3. Jean-Philippe Chaput, Caroline Dutil, and Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga: 'Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?'

4. Jeremy R. Tietjens, David Claman, et al.: 'Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Cardiovascular Disease: A Review of the Literature and Proposed Multidisciplinary Clinical Management Strategy'

5. Layal Chaker, Antonio C Bianco, Jacqueline Jonklaas, et al.: 'Hypothyroidism'

6. James E. Gangwisch,a, Kathryn Rexrode, John P. Forman: 'Daytime sleepiness and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: results from the Nurses’ Health Study II'

7. Jean C. McSweeney, Marisue Cody, et al: 'Women’s Early Warning Symptoms of Acute Myocardial Infarction'

8. Michael A. Grandner, Nicholas Jackson, Jason R. Gerstner: 'Dietary nutrients associated with short and long sleep duration. Data from a nationally representative sample'


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Recent User Reviews

Healthy habits are a must

I approve for healthy habits. Since I started having low-fat dinner at early time. I feel an improvement in my sleeping quality.

Turn off lights!

Make sure you decrease the light if you suffer from insomnia, tested and approved by my girlfriend.

Set up a night routine!

Yes guys, set up a time to go to bed, like a night routine, and I can assure you, you’ll see a difference!

Oganise yourself!

From my point of view and my experience, I think it’s hard to maintain a sleeping routine, especially when you have toodlers or a lot of things to do in your life

Hard to sleep during the day

I’m a nurse and I have night shifts and it’s really hard to sleep 7-8 hours during the day even if I’m exhausted. Melatonin would take over.

Positive vibes help

I always try to sleep reading positive vibes, so that I remove all my daily stress and it helped!

Important to sleep enough

So true, I’m more productive when I sleep enough, otherwise, i would spend the day like a zombie.

Student experience

As a student, I would rather sleep early for 7-8 hours and wake up early to study than studying all night and sleep for 4-5 hours.

Struggling to sleep

No matter how long I sleep, I can’t sleep after 10 am, it’s like I miss my train and I can’t sleep anymore.

We're not all the same

I think it depends on the person, for me, I only need 5-6 hours to feel rested and ready to start a new day

Sleeping needs are important

Many persons underestimate sleeping needs, even though it’s very important for body and mental health, everyone should be aware of this.

Visit the doctor

My partner used to suffer from sleep apnea and he would sleep very badly. Since he visited the doctor, he feels much better. The doctor gave him some usefull exercices

Gym really helped

I really agree with these tips, I’m sleeping way better since I’ve started my gym routine every evening.

Easy peasy way!

Very good. Comfy mattress, warm blanket , soft music, and there you go!

Great article!

Great article, very well explained. Thanks!

Timing is important!

Indeed, timing is very important, I’ve myself noticed that I feel way better when I have a 7 hours sleeping from 11pm to 6 am than when I sleep 10 hours from 2 am to 12pm.

I changed my mattress

Change your mattress! I did and it worked. It’s worth it!

Never under estimate Insomnia!

My boyfriend should read this, it might convince him to go see the doctor for his insomnia.

Very helpful content!

Oh my god! It's like you're talking about me in that article, very helpful!

The reason i found out about my disease

Few years ago, I had a very disturbed sleep, so I went to visit the doctor and that’s when I knew I had hyperthyroidism, otherwise, I would never find out about my disease to treat myself earlier.

FAQ

Why am I sleeping too much?

If you're sleeping too much and experience excessive daytime sleepiness, it can be related to some serious sleep disorders and health issues, such as Narcolepsy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Depression, Diabetes and Hypothyroidism.

Is it ok to sleep 12 hours a day?

It's not ok, however, people who are suffering from hypersomnia might need about 12 hours per day to feel rested. Since this is a medical disorder, you should consult your doctor to solve this problem.

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.