Are You Sleeping Too Much?
If you're snoozing more than 11 hours a night but you're still feeling groggy and tired throughout the following day, there's a good chance you're not getting a restful night's sleep.
Do you think there's a possibility you might be sleeping too much? Though there's nothing wrong with snoozing for nine or ten hours every now and then (remember: you can't catch up on lost sleep, so trying to catch more zzzs on the weekend to balance your weeknight sleep schedule isn't doing you any favors), repeatedly sleeping for too-long periods of time can be a sign that something isn't quite right. Just as a lack of sleep is hard on the system, an overabundance of rest can either be a symptom of an underlying condition or lead to health issues later on. Here, Dr. Natalie Dautovich an environmental fellow with the National Sleep Foundation, discusses the effects of oversleeping.
The recommended sleep range is seven to nine hours for most adults.
During the teenage years (ages 14-17), eight to ten hours of sleep is recommended. And for older adults (ages 65 and up), the sleep range lowers to seven to eight hours. As for the adults that fall in the middle? Seven to nine hours is the sweet spot. The occasional night of additional rest is not something that should cause alarm.
Pay attention to symptoms of oversleeping.
Dr. Dautovich encourages people who are routinely sleeping more than ten hours a night to start paying attention to their sleeping habits. If daytime fatigue or sleepiness persist, it could be a sign that there's an underlying disorder (like sleep apnea) at play, which means the snoozing you're actually doing isn't restorative or restful at all.
It's important to rule out underlying conditions.
"It's a good idea to get tests done to see if there are any other underlying physical conditions. Hyperthyroidism can be a cause of excessive sleeping," explains Dr. Dautovich, adding that depression can also be experienced with excessive sleepiness. "Also, insomnia, for some people, manifests as spending more time asleep."
Oversleeping can cause other health issues.
Another reason to see a specialist if you're getting more than ten hours of sleep nightly is to prevent health issues down the road. "Not only can oversleeping be a sign of an underlying issue, but it can also cause other issues," says Dautovich. "When you're spending that much time asleep, you're exposed to less sunlight and may be engaged in less activity."
Oversleeping increases your risk for heart disease.
Existing research shows there's a higher risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and pain for people who oversleep, notes Dautovich. Another common complaint? "People are more likely to have headaches and back pain if they are longer sleepers, consistently sleeping eleven hours or more." Dautovich shares her best advice for those currently struggling: "If you find that you typically are sleeping more than ten hours, and there's not a cause you can pinpoint (like you aren't trying to compensate for lost sleep) then it's important to see a doctor or a sleep specialist."