If you’re a regular here, first of all thank you so much, and secondly, you may remember that just a few weeks ago, we discussed the terrible things that happen to the body when it’s deprived of sleep. Well today we’re here to flip the conversation to discuss what happens to the body when it’s given too much sleep.
Although the comfort of your bed might be difficult to escape after a long and busy week, it’ll be much more difficult to escape the consequences of excess sleep.
How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
Defining exactly how much sleep is too much sleep can be a bit tricky. The recommended amount of sleep is between 7 and 9 hours a night. If you occasionally sleep beyond these parameters on the weekend, or find yourself scoring a whole 9 out of 9 every now and again, you have very little to worry about.
However, if after sleeping 9 hours, you regularly awake to feel exhausted and no more refreshed than before you went to bed, you may be at risk of oversleeping.
Why Might You Be Sleeping Too Much?
Unfortunately, there’s no one overarching catalyst to oversleeping or daytime sleepiness, as in fact, both can be the result of a plethora of illnesses; including:
Our number one prime suspect behind oversleeping is the presence of sleep disorders. They’re actually quite common amongst the general public, and most who suffer from them may not even be fully aware of their existence.
Disorders such as sleep apnea, where breathing is irregular during sleep, narcolepsy, which causes a person to fall asleep suddenly, and insomnia, which oppositely prevents someone from falling asleep, all have a key role to play.
In addition to this, chronic fatigue syndrome can also cause a person to sleep excessively.
Depression & Anxiety
It’s quite common for those who suffer from mental illnesses to encounter excessive sleep, and studies show that depression and the presence of anxiety both play a significant role in the experience.
This works on both sides of the clock. For example, anxiety may keep you up during the night as your mind spins endlessly with worry, before causing you to sleep past your alarm in the morning.
Depression also works in a similar way, but tends to result in a person intentionally sleeping more due to how they feel about the day ahead.
On the other end of the spectrum, it’s likely that those who suffer from physical disabilities will be more prone to both sleep deprivation, and over-tiredness during the day.
Obesity is a key example of the relationship between sleep and physical health, as studies have shown how it can heighten the experience of daytime sleepiness and fatigue. In addition to this, any form of physical pain will undoubtably manifest into a negative sleep experience.
For this, we always like to use this soothing body wrap to quickly treat all those sleep-depriving aches and pains just before bedtime; it always works a treat!
What Does Oversleeping Do To Physical Health?
As with sleep deprivation, excess sleep is bound to negatively impact your physical health. There’s an entire archive on why this is the case, but some of the most prominent ways that oversleeping influences physical health are:
Although most would think that taking a rest would remedy the influence of physical pain, too much sleep can actually exacerbate the situation.
This is especially true if you’re sleeping on an unsupportive mattress or in an unergonomic position for a long period of time.
Oversleeping has also been shown to have a strong connection with the onset of headaches, as the body naturally dehydrates the more we sleep. Like with any pain reliever, sleep is good, but only within the recommended timeframe.
Inflammation can affect the body in lots of different ways, including generalised and focussed forms of pain, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease, whilst also upping your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The level of inflammation in the body is measured through what’s known as c-reactive proteins (CRP), and studies have shown that those who sleep longer garner higher levels of CRP alongside the physical elements that come with inflammation.
Decline in Cardiovascular Health
Sleep is really important for the health of the heart, and evidence from cases of both excess sleep and sleep deprivation have detailed how each independently influences cardiovascular health.
In the case of oversleeping, this is because the heart isn’t being engaged enough by physical activity throughout the day, and as a result, you’re significantly upping your changes of encountering the likes of coronary heart disease and strokes.
Fertility depends heavily on the delicate balance of hormones within the body, and those with the best sleeping patterns of between 7 and 9 hours a night will garner the best chances of conceiving a child.
In light of this, sleeping excessively has been observed for impairing the biological circadian cycles, and thus lessening your chances of pregnancy. It’s an odd element that most would not associate with each other, but it’s very important to note if you’re trying for a baby.
Excess sleep has been strongly detailed in its ability to cause obesity. This is not only because of the lack of movement associated with more sleep, but because oversleeping impacts glucose intolerance and the body’s ability to process blood sugars.
On the opposite side of the coin, people who enjoy healthy levels of sleep each night enjoy better weight regulation.
What Does Oversleeping Do To Mental Health?
When considering mental health, it’ll come as little surprise that the effects of which can be greatly exacerbated by excess sleep, including:
Decreased Cognitive Function
In very much the same way as other forms of sleep disorders, excess sleep can massively impact your level of cognitive function. Your ability to think, remember, and perform even the simplest of tasks will be downgraded, and it’s likely that you’ll awaken to feel more confused and irritated.
This is because brain functioning tends to peak around the 7 hours of sleep mark; anything beyond this, and a decline is inevitable.
Improving sleep lies at the centre of many treatments that combat depression, yet it should also be known that oversleeping is a major catalyst towards depression itself.
People who sleep for longer are prone to experience what’s known as persistent depression, due to the fact that oversleeping causes you to enter a ‘rabbit hole’ of mental health decline that can seem almost impossible to escape.
One of the nastier side effects of oversleeping is the facilitation of degenerative diseases. Studies have strongly and routinely suggested that excess sleep can trigger early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
How To Recover From Sleeping Too Much
With this being said, fortunately, there are plenty of ways in which you can avoid oversleeping. One way we’d really suggest is to avoid sleep beyond 8 hours like the plague. Say no to napping, and try your very best to avoid hitting that snooze button.
Sleeping in on the weekends? That’s the old you. Ideally, you’ll want your sleeping pattern to be as regulated as possible, and designing a sleep schedule and keeping a sleep journal are two really great ways to achieve this.
In addition, it’s also super important to address why exactly you’re oversleeping, and to seek medical help if it’s something that you’re struggling to avoid.
You might also want to consider the quality of your sleep too, and never be afraid to reach out to those little helpers in order to achieve this. Things like blackout sleep masks, lavender pillow sprays, and regular exercise will all prove to be very beneficial to this important cause.
To explore the better side of sleep, feel free to visit our full collection of dreamy sleep products here: www.sleepsmug.com/collections/new-arrivals
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