Sleeping too much is bad: truth or myth?
We know that sleep is the time when our body repairs and restores itself and, therefore, getting too little rest can lead to a series of health problems.
While most of us need approximately eight hours of sleep per night to feel revitalized throughout the day, what is considered sufficient (or not) varies from person to person.
It's understandable that sleeping less than necessary results in tiredness, but it may be surprising to discover that sleeping more than necessary doesn't always leave us feeling refreshed and full of energy. On the contrary! When we turn off the alarm clock several times more than usual and we sleep more than we should, we may even feel more tired and unmotivated throughout the day.
Most of the time, we hear about the effects of a few hours of sleep and how harmful the habit of sleeping little can be. But… what about sleeping a lot? Does it hurt?
Is sleeping too much bad?
The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person. However, according to most studies and experts, sleeping more than nine hours it is already considered excessive or prolonged for adults.
Regularly sleeping beyond the recommended hours can have some negative side effects. Although adequate, quality sleep is essential for health, too much sleep can lead to physical and mental problems.
Some of the main common side effects of sleeping too much include:
- Increased inflammation and pain;
- Impaired fertility;
- Increased risk of obesity and diabetes;
- Increased risk of heart disease;
- Increased risk of stroke.
Furthermore, sleeping excessively can also affect your mental and cognitive health in the short, medium and long term.
Diminished cognitive function
Sleeping too much can lead to frequent awakenings during the night, disrupting your sleep quality.
This can result in fragmentation of REM and NON-REM sleep cycles: important phases of cycle of our sleep that act on memory consolidation and adequate cognitive functioning.
Increased risk of depression
Although a healthy sleep of 7 to 8 hours per night improves our mental health, sleeping too much can increase the risk of developing depression and other mental health problems.
Furthermore, sleeping more hours than recommended can leave us more tired throughout the day, which negatively affects our mood, automatically contributing to feelings of sadness and confusion.
Risk of developing dementia
Through several tests carried out, a study from the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Madrid, concluded that those who sleep a lot may be more likely to develop dementia later on.
This study found that people who regularly sleep more than nine hours a night are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's than those who sleep 7 to 8 hours.
Sleeping a lot: causes
There are many reasons why we may feel the need to sleep too much. Unlike people who naturally sleep a lot, those who sleep more than they are used to may be compensating for a lost or poor-quality sleep.
On the other hand, the body itself may also be showing signs of an undiagnosed health condition. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the signs!
In fact, there are a number of factors that may be responsible for the need to sleep a lot. Some of them:
- Sleep disorders: Certain disorders - such as sleep apnea - can lead to sleep that is constantly interrupted (and, in turn, not restorative) resulting in a feeling of excessive drowsiness during the day and the need to sleep more hours;
- Lack of sleep quality: Compromised sleep quality can lead to a greater need for sleep to compensate for the lack of rest;
- Hormonal changes: Some medical conditions, such as thyroid complications or certain hormonal imbalances, can affect sleep patterns and lead to an increased need for sleep;
- Lifestyle: Certain habits and lifestyles, such as lack of regular physical activity, inadequate eating habits, chronic stress or the use of certain medications, can lead to increased drowsiness and the desire to sleep for longer hours;
- Ingestion of medications or substances: Certain types of medication can cause excessive and prolonged drowsiness. Additionally, alcohol or drug use can negatively affect sleep patterns and lead to an increased need for sleep.
- Underlying health problems: In some cases, sleeping too much can be caused by an underlying health condition, such as hypothyroidism, depression, neurological disorders or chronic illnesses, as these types of conditions can affect sleep balance.
Regardless, it is important to realize that not only is less sleep harmful. Also excessive sleeping and the constant need to sleep a lot can be a symptom of several underlying medical conditions, some of which can be serious.
Sleeping a lot after a stroke
After an episode of CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident), it is common to experience excessive drowsiness due to the impact this event had on the brain and the intense work that the body has to do to recover.
Getting plenty of sleep during the initial phase of recovery is considered normal, and may even be recommended by doctors to aid in the healing process.
However, it is important to keep in mind that excessive sleeping for long periods of time can not only be harmful, but also lead to a loss of physical fitness and cognitive abilities. It is recommended that all medical guidelines be followed and that a balance be found between adequate rest and recovery.
Each person is unique and may have different needs during the post-stroke recovery process.
“I sleep a lot and I’m always sleepy.” Why?
Do you feel like you usually sleep a lot and still wake up tired? Or, do you sleep a lot and still feel sleepy during the day? Calm down, you're not alone!
There are several reasons that can help explain this “phenomenon”.
The most common cause is known as circadian rhythm dysregulation, which occurs when our body's biological clock is interrupted for some reason. This clock is responsible for controlling our sleep and wake patterns, indicating when we should sleep and wake up. If, for some reason, you go to bed later than usual and disrupt your body's routine, your brain becomes disoriented, resulting in a feeling of confusion when you wake up.
Another factor that may explain why you are sleeping a lot and yet still sleepy could be the fact that you are waking up at the "wrong" time. If you wake up during the non-REM sleep phase - which is the deepest phase - it can also cause some mental and physical confusion upon awakening that will inevitably accompany you for the rest of the day.
On the other hand, if you have already considered all these possibilities and continue to wake up tired, even though you maintain a regular sleep routine, there may be a related health problem that is preventing you from having a restful sleep, resulting in drowsiness during the day.
If you feel that your sleep is being frequently interrupted, you wake up very tired and/or you continue to feel sleepy during the day, it is essential to seek help. help see a specialist so that you can receive the appropriate treatment.
The importance of seeking medical help
When sleep becomes excessive and we start spending most of our time in bed, it could be a sign that something is not right!
If your concern is that you feel like you are sleeping too much, take a kind of “inventory” of your current circumstances:
- Have you overcome any phase of greater stress?
- Have your days been more tiring?
- Are you going through some kind of situation? jet lag after a long trip?
- Have you started taking any medication?
Evaluating these parameters, and if you see yourself in any of them, this could probably be the reason why your body feels the need to sleep more. And everything is fine... as long as your sleep returns to normal afterwards.
If you do not find yourself in any of these scenarios, and the need to sleep a lot has been part of your days, it is recommended that you consult your doctor.
This way, you can discuss your symptoms, medical history, and any other specific concerns with a healthcare professional. Through a complete evaluation, your doctor may request additional tests - such as sleep polysomnography, for example - to identify the underlying cause of excessive sleeping and eventual tiredness upon waking.
Based on the diagnosis, you may be recommended appropriate treatment, which may include lifestyle changes, specific therapies or medication, depending on the situation.
At Colmol, our priority is the satisfaction of those looking to improve their night's rest through effective and quality products. Our team of Sleep Specialists. We provide personalized advice on a daily basis, adapted to the needs of each client who comes to us.
If you are looking for this specialized help, you can contact us directly at::
- telephone the number +351 300 600 110
- or Send us your questions to email@example.com
We are always available to help you… and your sleep 🧡