Are You Oversleeping? Know How It Affects Your Health
Hitting the bed after a long tiring day is one of the most blissful feelings in the world. You may want to spend as much time sleeping, snuggled up in your warm, cosy bed like there is no tomorrow. If you oversleep once in a while it may not be that big a deal; however, if it becomes a habit, then it may affect your health in more than one ways. If this evokes concern, we suggest that you read the following article and understand how oversleeping can affect you.
What is the Ideal Amount of Sleep a Person Needs?
We all need to sleep well to be hale and hearty. Sleep is the best way our body rests and recoups. However, more sleep may not be that good of an idea. So, what is the ideal amount of sleep that a person needs? Well, the following table may help you get a fair idea.
|Age||Number of Hours of Sleep|
|Newborn infants||14 to 17 hours a day|
|Babies||12 to 15 hours a day|
|Toddlers||11 to 14 hours a day|
|Kindergarten age-group kids||10 to 12 hours a day|
|School-age kids||9 to 11 hours a day|
|Teenagers||8 to 10 hours a day|
|Adults or grown-ups||7 to 9 hours a day|
|Seniors or old-age people who are 65 and above||7 to 8 hours a day|
The values mentioned above state the estimated amount of sleep different age-groups require. However, the sleep requirements may vary from one person to another.
What are the Possible Causes of Oversleeping?
Oversleeping is when you sleep more than your body needs. Therefore, a person sleeping for more than 10 to 12 hours a day may fall under the category of hypersomnia. Many causes may lead to oversleeping. Some of the common oversleeping reasons are as follows.
- If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, you may sleep for long hours.
- If you have sleep apnea, getting out of bed may seem like an arduous task.
- If you have thyroid issues, it may result in excessive sleeping.
- If you are suffering from heart diseases, it may result in oversleeping.
- Sometimes extreme tiredness may cause you to oversleep.
- If you are taking certain medication, it may make you sleep more than usual.
How is the Diagnosis of Oversleeping Done?
If your oversleeping pattern extends up to six weeks and beyond, it may be an indication of an underlying medical issue that may make such changes in your sleeping pattern. It is vital that you get yourself thoroughly examined to establish the actual cause of oversleeping. Your doctor may recommend some tests and may even ask you to go in for a sleep study. If there are no evident medical issues associated with oversleeping, your doctor may suggest the following diagnosis techniques:
1. Polysomnogram Test
You will be required to stay in the clinic or sleep centre, and various instruments will monitor your heart rate, brain activity, leg movements, eye movements etc.
2. Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Your doctor may measure your sleepiness on this scale to establish how your sleep could be affecting your day to day functioning.
3. Multiple Sleep Latency Tests
In addition to or after your polysomnogram test, your doctor may recommend multiple sleep latency tests to have a more comprehensive view of your sleep pattern and how you nap during the day.
4. Maintain a Dairy
Your doctor may even ask you to maintain a diary of your sleeping pattern, that is when you sleep when you get up, how many naps in a day you take, etc.
What are the Side Effects of Oversleeping?
Like the way our body takes nourishment from food, sleep nourishes the senses of our body. We feel relaxed and rejuvenated after catching up on some peaceful sleep. However, sleeping more than what is required by our body may not be good for us, and it may lead to various physical and mental complications. Following are some physical and mental oversleeping risks that may occur.
If you are wondering how your body may react negatively to too much shut-eye, well, here are some reasons that may make you rethink whether you should snooze away to glory or not.
1. It May Increase Your Chances of Developing Diabetes
Dozing off for more than 9 hours a day could put you at an increased risk of developing diabetes. So, if you thought that sleeping for a few extra hours may not that big a hassle; well, it can be and it can cause diabetes.
This is because it has been proven in one of the studies that people who slept for 9 or more hours a day, had a 50 per cent more chance of getting diabetes than those who slept for lesser hours on a daily basis.
2. It May Make You Hefty
You consume food to provide energy to your body, and your body burns the calories when you do your basic chores during the day. However, when you spend most of the time sleeping, your body may keep piling on the extra calories, which would eventually lead to weight gain.
According to a study, people who slept for 9 or more hours a day on a regular basis were more likely to become obese in a span of six years than people who didn’t do so.
3. It May Cause Headaches
If you experience constant bouts of headaches, there is a good amount of possibility that you may be indulging in too much sleep.
This happens because excessive sleep adversely affects the neurotransmitters of the brain, which in turn may lead to issues such as headaches and pains.
4. It May Cause Backache
It may sound a bit out of place, but sleeping for longer durations may cause backaches and pains. This is because your body is not made to be in a laying down position for a long time, rather it is supposed to be in motion.
Lying down on the bed for long may lead to posture issues and back pain.
5. It May Meddle with Your Fertility
Snoozing and fertility, do they have any connection? Well, if you are planning on getting pregnant, it may be a wise thing to consider how much time you spend sleeping because sleeping for longer durations may hamper your fertility by disturbing the hormonal balance and affecting the circadian cycles.
In one of the studies, it was observed that women who slept for 9 to 11 hours per day were less fertile in comparison to women who dozed for eight or fewer hours per day.
6. It May Cause Heart Strokes
According to a study, it had been observed that people who sleep for more than 8 hours a day are at approximately 50 per cent higher risk of suffering a stroke than people who slept for 8 or fewer hours a day.
Therefore, longer sleeping hours may put you at risk of a stroke. Snooze less to keep heart strokes at bay.
Apart from affecting your physical well-being, oversleeping may adversely impact your mental well-being too. Here are some ways oversleeping may affect your mental health:
1. It May Make You Anxious or Cause Anxiety
Anxiety is when you worry more about things and situations than is required. Sometimes it may make you sleep deprived, however, sometimes it may do just the opposite. That may make you more sleepy and groggy because you may want to shy away from reality and spend time sleeping.
2. It May Cause Depression
Oversleeping may impact your serotonin levels, which in turn may lead to symptoms of depression or other such mental conditions.
Therefore, sleeping those extra hours may not be doing anything nice to get your mood soaring, but it may make you feel all gloomy or doomed, so keep a check on your snooze-time.
3. It May Cause Memory Problems
Oversleeping may fiddle with your memory or the ways you remember things. This is because long hours of sleep on a regular basis may affect your body’s neurotransmitters, making you forgetful.
4. It May Cause Sleep Hangover
When you sleep more, you may experience fogginess or sluggishness. These feelings are also called a sleep hangover. When you experience such symptoms, it may affect how you think or act. Therefore, to be more alert and active, sleep in moderation to avoid oversleeping nausea and other such feelings.
5. It May Cause Bipolar Disorder
Can you believe that oversleeping may lead to bipolar disorders too? Well, according to a study, it has been observed that people who had bipolar disorders slept for long durations than who didn’t.
6. It May Cause Irritability and Other Emotional Issues
So, you thought that extra snooze hour would give you a happy state of mind, but you find yourself all grumpy and irritable.
Well, oversleeping may meddle with your hormonal balance making you erratic and cranky.
Are There Any Benefits of Oversleeping?
So far, we have discussed the adverse effects of oversleeping and you may wonder whether there are any benefits. Well, sometimes when you indulge in those extra hours of sleeping, it may actually be good for your health. There are instances where research has shown that oversleeping may really help:
- For an enhanced sports performance in sportspersons
- For feeling fresh and energised for performers and actors
- For improved accuracy in athletes
If you need to reap the benefits of those extra hours of sleep, you need to prep your body and mind accordingly.
How to Stop Yourself from Oversleeping?
If you have been sleeping away to glory or oversleeping, there are measures that you may take to stop that. Here are some oversleeping remedies that may really help.
- Make a schedule for your sleep and try adhering to it.
- Get an alarm clock to the rescue and set a wake-up alarm to overcome your oversleeping disorder.
- Expose yourself to more natural light and make sure your room has bright light too because bright lights are very effective in dealing with oversleeping symptoms.
- Sometimes certain medication prescriptions may cause this problem too. You may ask your doctor to change your prescription.
These tips may help you to deal with oversleeping issues and also help in keeping them at bay.
Though oversleeping may not be that common in people and this condition may occur in only 2 per cent people, if you think that you are dealing with this condition, you must act promptly and take corrective measures. Ask your doctor’s help for the same!