Oversleeping occurs because of a number of reasons. You may oversleep because you are dealing with an illness or compensating for a few night’s sleep deprivation. But if you are regularly oversleeping, it might be a sign of a mental health disorder, sleep disorder, or health condition. To learn more about oversleeping, we’ve covered the definition of oversleeping, causes of oversleeping, and what you can do if you tend to oversleep.
What is Oversleeping?
Sleeping more than nine hours in 24 hours is referred to as oversleeping. Hypersomnia, on the other hand, describes a condition in which you oversleep and still experience excessive sleepiness during the day. Hypersomnia is a result of sleep disorders and narcolepsy. A specialist might refer to regular oversleeping resulting in distress in your life as the excessive quantity of sleep (EQS). And Idiopathic hypersomnia is when the cause of your sleepiness cannot be established.
A significant number of adults require seven to nine hours of sleep. A sufficient night’s sleep promotes mental alertness and improves your overall health. However, inadequate sleep may result in laziness and poor focus. Too much sleep is also not recommended as it may also affect your health.
The quantity of sleep you need every night depends on several elements like sleep pattern, activities, daily habits, and your general health. Athletes may require an extra hour of sleep compared to older adults who need only six hours of sleep. Sometimes, you may need more sleep than usual after travel or strenuous activity. In case you sleep longer than usual and continue dozing off or feeling tired, it may be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Symptoms of Oversleeping
Apart from sleeping more than nine hours a night, other symptoms of oversleeping comprise:
- Napping a lot during the day
- Too much daytime sleepiness
What Causes Oversleeping?
Oversleeping arises when you are trying to compensate for “sleep debt.” For instance, you might be forced to stay late for a number to complete a particular project and because of this, you become sleep deprived. During the weekend, you might opt to make up for the sleep debt by sleeping longer than normal.
There are also a number of health conditions that may lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, such as:
- Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy.
- Depression and anxiety
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Chronic pain
This is a condition that causes you to stop breathing temporarily when sleeping. Because of this, you might choke and snore during the night and experience sleepiness during the day. To make up for the insufficient sleep, you may nap during the day and try to sleep more at night, resulting in oversleeping.
Luckily, the symptoms caused by sleep apnea are often resolved with appropriate treatment. After being diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe a CPAP machine. The machine is crucial as it supports your breathing during sleep.
Narcolepsy comes in three types, but in almost all cases, you experience overpowering urges to sleep, referred to as sleep attacks and excessive daytime sleepiness. Secondary narcolepsy, which makes you sleep more than 10 hours a day, is brought about by an injury in the hypothalamus. Although narcolepsy is said to be a lifelong disorder, it can be treated and managed with treatment, including lifestyle changes and proper medication.
If healthcare specialists cannot establish the root cause of the oversleeping disorder, you may be diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia. Some of this sleep condition’s characteristics include excessive sleepiness, difficulty waking up, and inability to feel rested after napping or sleeping at night. You may sleep 14-18 hours a day if you are ailing from this condition.
When it comes to treatment, sleep specialists prescribe similar prescriptions to narcolepsy. However, these medications may not work effectively as in the case of narcolepsy. If you are diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, you may be required to improve your lifestyle habits like avoiding late-night activities and limiting alcohol.
Depression and Anxiety
Individuals who have depression and anxiety often struggle with sleep disorders or health disorders. Some of the repercussions of depression are difficulty sleeping and oversleeping. Adults and teens with depression are likely to experience excessive sleepiness. Studies indicate that long sleepers exhibit higher rates of depression. Other studies indicate that people with anxiety are more likely to experience long sleep which causes them anguish.
There is an array of treatments for depression and anxiety, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Talk to a specialist to determine which method of treatment is ideal for you.
Effects of Oversleeping
Just like deprivation of sleep results in negative impacts on your overall health, oversleeping is no different. Research suggests that oversleeping:
- Reduces your immune function
- Results to chronic diseases
- Makes inflammation in the body worse
Both sleep deprivation and oversleeping are linked to many chronic and health concerns like:
- Frequent mental distress
- Coronary heart distress
Tips to Avoid Oversleeping
If you are concerned about your oversleeping tendencies, talk to a specialist about your sleep and health habits. It is ideal to have a sleep diary to keep records of your wake-up and sleep time and the naps you have throughout the day. This information is critical as your doctor can use it to help you identify the cause of your sleeping problem and suggest a treatment plan.
Irrespective of what might be causing you to oversleep, you can adopt a few healthy sleep tips to improve your sleep habits:
- Come Up With a Regular Sleep Schedule: Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. This is important as it helps you avoid sleep debt and sleep loss.
- Develop a Bedtime Routine: The routine you create should help you relax and prepare for sleep. Keep off electronics before bedtime as the light from electronics can delay sleep onset.
- Set a Conducive Sleep Environment: Your sleeping quarters should have cool temperatures and be free from excess light and noise.
- Exercise Daily: Exposure to sunlight and regular exercise allow you to sleep well during the night. However, avoid too much exercise hours leading to bedtime.
- Take Early Naps: Napping late in the afternoon can make it impossible to fall asleep at the required time.