“How many hours of sleep should I be getting every night?”
This question has been a regular debate for decades of time. Our-hard working American culture prides itself on long work hours. But, this has made it difficult for millions of us to get enough sleep at night. Most of us agree that anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep are healthy and adequate. But is it possible to get too much sleep? What are the effects of getting too much sleep? Is it bad for you? Please keep reading to learn more about this issue.
The plain and simple answer to this question is, “yes!” — sleeping too much is bad for you. This excessive sleeping habit, even has a name: hypersomnia. The main focus of our culture is on lack of sleep. But, too much sleep can be an indicator of depleted physical or mental health. Oversleeping can also cause the same side effects that a lack of sleep causes. Some of these side effects are:
Also, people who sleep too much, have a higher instance of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Oversleeping is often caused by an individual getting very poor sleep. When this occurs, it’s important to look at why healthy sleep is being obstructed. This may be due to a sleep disorder. A sleep disorder that causes deprivation of sleep can cause one to sleep longer. Why? Because your body needs to make up for the lack of sleep experienced. Here’s a closer look at some sleep disorders that may cause hypersomnia.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder caused by a halfway or completely blocked airway. In other words, it is very difficult to breathe when you are asleep. When this happens, the individual wakes up many times throughout the night. Often, leading to a very poor night’s sleep and not enough rest.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder involving the neurological system. The brain is unable to control the cycles of wakefulness and sleep. People with narcolepsy will often fall asleep, quite fast and without notice. Quite often, falling asleep at any time during the day. For example, this is very dangerous if the individual is driving. On the flip side, the person may experience extreme insomnia at night. These bouts of insomnia include uncontrollable sleep during the day. Followed by long hours of being wide awake all night. Combined, both conditions make for a very unstructured sleep schedule.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome refers to the experience of an inability to keep their legs calm. People with this disorder often feel a tingling or twitching in their legs. This causes them to move their legs around. This syndrome often leads to insomnia. Wherein the individual cannot become comfortable enough to relax and fall asleep. Hence, causing them to be very sleepy throughout the day or oversleep.
Depression is another leading cause of sleeping too much. Though it’s somewhat a matter of the chicken or the egg. Lack of sleep and oversleeping causes depression. But depression also causes lack of sleep and oversleeping— a vicious cycle. Most people who have depression experience disrupted sleep throughout the night. Thus, they are more tired throughout the day. Insomnia, stress, or suicidal thoughts all disturb a person’s sleep. A depressed person may end up oversleeping to compensate for this lack of restful sleep.
Other causes of sleeping too much may be substance abuse, neurological issues, and certain medications. Drugs and alcohol often cause sleep disruptions in our natural circadian rhythm. This means the quantity and quality of our sleep decreases. Thus causing fatigue and oversleeping. Medical conditions and neurological disorders are more often linked to the brain. Both of these needs professional treatment. Certain medications such as antidepressants can also cause disrupted sleep or hypersomnia.
How Much is Too Much?
If you’re getting more than 9 hours of sleep every night and still feel tired, you may want to assess your health. The normal amount of sleep for optimal health is anywhere from 7-9 hours per night. Anything over this may be a sign that you have hypersomnia. Of course, we all have those times when we didn’t get much sleep because we were on a late plane flight. Or, we had one wild night out — oversleeping the next day to make up for the lack of sleep experienced is no big deal. Besides, the more active you are, the more sleep your body may need to restore its energy. But, if oversleeping becomes a habit, with no end in sight, then it’s time to see a medical professional.
Are you experiencing hypersomnia? Please call our office at 917-924-6383 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Shukla is one of the leading sleep doctors in NYC. We will get you on the right path to experiencing happy, healthy sleep once more.