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We have all heard it by now that too much of everything is bad for you. This applies to sleep too. While it may not feel odd to sleep in during the weekends or on days when you don't have much to do, too much sleep may actually be detrimental to your health.
According to WebMd, over sleeping has been linked to a host of medical problems including diabetes, heart disease and increased risk of death.
Your sleep is dependent on various factors such as age, activity level, your general health and lifestyle habits. However, there are those occasions where your body will ask for more rest like during periods or illness, you may feel an increased need for sleep.
Studies and research typically recommend that adults should sleep between seven and nine hours each night. Like insufficient sleep, oversleeping is a sign of disordered sleep.
According to the Sleep Doctor website, this may be connected to a mental health issue such as depression. It’s often a signal that a person is experiencing poor sleep quality, and it can be a sign of a clinical sleep disorder, including obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
Should you suspect you could be sleeping too much, here are signs to watch out for
1. Back pain
If you suffer from back pain, sleeping too much can accelerate the symptoms. Lying down for extended periods of time especially in a unideal position causes muscles stiffness and increase of pain. Doctors recommend that people with back pain to stay active and sleeping for too long can limit the time they could be spending working out.
Sleeping too much can trigger headaches and migraines. Some experts say oversleeping can screw with your brain’s neurotransmitters which could reduce your serotonin levels. Likewise, sleeping too much during the day that it becomes hard to sleep at night has also been linked with morning headaches.
3. You feel sluggish all day
If you sleep too much during the day, you won’t just feel tired in the morning but sluggish. In fact, you’ll likely find yourself walking around like a zombie all day thanks again to that pesky circadian clock that’s trying so hard to keep up with your opulent sleep schedule. If you are still craving naps after sleeping upwards of eight hours each night, you may want to cut down on the snooze button.
3. Weight gain
Oversleeping has a powerful impact on how your body stores fat and its ability to lose it. Research shows that oversleeping messes with the hormones that control your appetite, and since sleeping to much can make you more tired, you may end up getting less physical activity than your more 'normal' snoozing peers. So sleeping in may be cancelling out all your hard work in the gym.
4. Premature aging
Chronic oversleeping actually causes your brain to age faster, especially in older adults. Spending too much time sleeping has been shown to age your brain by as much as two years. This results in poor concentration, memory and affects your ability to perform basic daily tasks and may increase your risk of developing mental degenerative disorders.
If you are sleeping extra long hours and feeling so lethargic that you have lost all your interest in your hobbies, relationships, job etc, it is possible you are mistaking a depressive episode for exhaustion. It is still not 100% clear whether oversleeping is a symptom of depression or vice versa but overall, people who sleep for more than 10 hours per night score lower on measures of mental health and moods, than those who sleep normal hours. Establishing healthy sleep patterns is recommended to help reduce symptoms of depression.
6. Decrease in fertility
The release of hormones including those involved in reproduction are heavily influenced by our sleep wake schedule. According to studies, women who oversleep while undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments are 43% less likely to conceive than those who sleep a moderate amount. The effect was nearly as high as for those getting less than six hours of sleep per night (46%).
Remember as with most things, moderation is the key to getting a healthy amount of sleep. If sleep disturbances are affecting your sleep-wake schedule, incorporate sleep hygiene practices into your daily routine and if these still don't work it is time to see a doctor.