Why Do You Sleep So Much? The Surprising Science

Reviewed by Jennifer Martin, PhD


Maybe youve seen the headlines about how oversleeping has been linked to a higher danger of illness and loss of life. If you are the type of one who frequently clocks greater than eight hours of slumber, these information tales have most likely made you surprise, “Why do I sleep so much? And is it bad for me?”

In this story, sleep specialists assist you perceive the newest science. You’ll discover out what actually occurs if you oversleep, together with the way it impacts your well being.

(Spoiler: Chances are, you don’t have anything to fret about.)

How a lot is an excessive amount of sleep?

On common, most individuals want someplace between seven and 9 hours of sleep every evening. But thats a median, not a good-health edict.

As you begin to transfer out in both path, there are individuals who require barely extra and barely much less sleep, says Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist, writer of The Sleep Solution and The Rested Childand co-author of Precision Nutritions Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification.

Above (and under) common sleepers fall into three predominant classes.

1. People who want fewer than 7 hours of sleep

Referred to as Natural Short Sleepers, these genetically-gifted of us whose want as a lot sleep as the typical particular person.

Increased ranges of a hormone known as orexin permits them to really feel spunky and clear-headed with simply 5 to 6 hours of shuteye.

Heres an vital caveat, although. Plenty of people that get lower than seven hours usually are not Natural Short Sleepers. Rather, they skimp on sleep for different causes, starting from revenge-bedtime procrastination to parenthood to an all the time on work ethic.

If youre not genetically a Natural Short Sleeper, skimping on sleep seemingly means youll both

really feel like rubbish the following day

wont really feel like rubbish the following daybut solely as a result of youre so used to the consequences of sleep deprivation that youve now not bear in mind what it feels prefer to be effectively rested

In addition to the above, over time, your danger for coronary heart illness, most cancers, and kind 2 diabetes can go up as effectively.

(More about sleep and well being additional down within the story.)

2. People who want greater than 9 hours of sleep

Due to their genetic make-up, Natural Long Sleepers often want 10, 11, or 12 hours with a view to really feel refreshed. Their genetics additionally trigger them to really feel drained extra rapidly than different individuals.

Also on this longer-sleeping class: youngsters, youngsters, and lots of younger adults, all of whom want extra sleep so their our bodies can proceed to develop, says Jennifer Martin, PhD, Professor of Medicine on the University of California, Los Angeles and in addition a co-author Precision Nutritions Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification.

Certain prescription drugs also can enhance sleep time, says Dr. Martin.

Usually this impact is reversed when the particular person stops the remedy, and in some instances, the sleepiness is diminished as soon as the particular person will get used to the remedy, she says.

3. People who want 13+ hours of sleep

Some individuals sleep 14, 17, 24 or extra hours with little or no interruption, and so they nonetheless wake feeling drained.

If you discover you might be one in all these individuals, it could be a sign that there’s something mistaken along with your sleep high qualitynot essentially the amount, Dr. Winter says. For instance, sleep issues like sleep apnea and insomnia can disrupt sleep, inflicting individuals to get up feeling unrefreshed.

Quite a lot of well being circumstances together with epilepsy, Parkinsons illness, and melancholy also can result in hypersomnia, which is the lack to remain awake. Narcolepsy, one other hypersomnia situation, causes individuals to really feel drained on a regular basis, main them to go to sleep at inappropriate and harmful instances, corresponding to whereas on a date or driving a car. These issues require medical therapy.

If you think any of the above is true for you, its an awesome factor to say to your physician.

What occurs if you sleep an excessive amount of?

For the typical particular person, if they’re sleeping, they most likely should be sleeping, says Dr. Winter.

Thats as a result of our our bodies all have a sleep set pointreferred to as homeostasis. Get too little sleep one evening and your physique will reply by craving extra sleep the following. Alternatively, you might have observed: If you acquire extra sleep than regular by sleeping in on a weekend, you may seemingly end up conscious later that night.

There are, nevertheless, some exceptions. More about these under.

(Find out: Would YOU make an awesome sleep coach?)

Does oversleeping hurt your well being?

Despite all the scary headlines, its seemingly that lengthy sleep itself poses little to no well being issues. Thats as a result of, in individuals who sleep greater than most, it is typically the results of a persistent well being drawback, not the trigger, finds analysis.1.2

Occasionally, the issue is bi-directional, that means the well being drawback disturbs sleep, which worsens the well being drawback, which results in worsened sleep, and the cycle continues.

These well being issues embody:

Sleep issues like sleep apnea (the place respiration repeatedly stops throughout sleep) and narcolepsy (which is characterised by extreme daytime sleepiness and sleep assaults)

Diabetes

Hypothyroidism

Depression

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Heart illness

For the above circumstances, its vital to notice that oversleeping doesnt trigger them. Rather, its a symptom of them.

For instance, sleep apnea repeatedly wakes individuals, typically for temporary moments, through the evening, which may result in hypersomnia (extreme sleepiness through the day) in addition to a robust need to remain in mattress longer than eight hours or to take a nap through the afternoon.

When medical issues disturb sleep, it takes an individual an extended time period to be sufficiently recovered, says Dr. Martin.

If you frequently get greater than 10 hours, and you’re feeling energetic and clear headed through the day, thats nice! Enjoy your slumber with out concern. You most probably don’t have anything to fret about.

On the opposite hand, when you spend your days craving a naptired, mind fogged, irritated, and resolution fatiguedthere could also be an underlying challenge value exploring along with your physician.

(Learn extra: Why individuals with insomnia put on by CBT-I.)

4 Sleep Habits That Improve Sleep Quality

If youre fascinated with sleeping extra restfully, think about forming any of the next sleep habits.

Create a sleep oasis. When your sleep atmosphere makes you are feeling secure and comfortable, its simpler on your mind to chill out, permitting you to sleep extra deeply.

Block out gentle. Your circadian rhythm responds to modifications in gentle. For most individuals, the darker the room, the higher they sleep. If you cant get your room as darkish as wanted, think about experimenting with a sleep masks that covers your eyes and blocks out gentle.

Adjust the temperature. In addition to gentle, your circadian rhythm additionally responds to modifications in temperature, making you are feeling sleepy as your physique cools down. Taking a scorching bathtub or bathe earlier than mattress can trick your physique that its time to sleep as its cooling down. Another tactic: Set your thermostat so it reduces the ambient temperature by a pair levels at evening.

If scorching flashes are conserving you awake, think about investing in cooling mattress pads or utilizing a fan. (Read extra: menopause and sleep).

Consider sleeping alone. A loud night breathing partner or lively pet can wake you repeatedly, inflicting you to want extra sleep to really feel rested.

(Read extra: how you can sleep higher.)

Can sleeping an excessive amount of make you drained?

Ever observed that you simply really feel extra drained if you sleep in (say, on the weekends) than you do if you stand up early?

There are two seemingly causes for this phenomenon.

1. Oversleeping is usually a response to undersleeping

Some individuals sleep 10+ hours on the weekends as a result of theyre sleeping six or fewer hours through the week.

One purpose individuals really feel drained after sleeping lots is that they nonetheless havent paid again their sleep money owed from prior nights, says Dr. Martin. If you might be very sleep disadvantaged, it takes a number of days to get again on monitor and catch up.

2. Sleeping in can disrupt sleep-wake signaling.

If you often wake at 6 am, sleeping in on the weekends will disrupt your brains means to launch the neurochemicals wanted for that refreshed, ready-to-slay-the-world feeling.

Its actually extra about sleep timing than sleep quantity, explains Dr. Winter. The brains timing cues are being disrupted.

Among these timing cues:

Overhead and out of doors gentle that units your brains circadian clock

The blaring noise of your alarm clock that triggers the discharge of cortisol and different alertness chemical compounds

Conversations with housemates that nudge you to get up! assume!

Caffeine

Breakfast

That feeling of being rushed as you race out the door

When you sometimes oversleep, you deprive your mind of some or all of these cues. Some of the wakeup alerts may not happen in any respect. Others, like overhead lighting and caffeine, happen hours later than your mind is used to getting them.

End consequence: you are feeling drained.

How are you able to inform if youre sleeping an excessive amount of?

Dr. Winter suggests you think about this query:

During the day, when you sit all the way down to learn a guide or watch a present, do you are feeling a robust urge to nod off?

If the reply is sure, its a sign that youre not getting sufficient restorative sleep at evening, which can be an indication of a sleep problem or sleep high quality challenge, he says.

On the opposite hand, if youre clocking loads of bedtime hours and really feel energized through the day, 10+ hours may simply be your pure sleep sample.

If you’re a lengthy sleeper and really feel good, don’t be concerned about it, says Dr. Martin. Do your greatest to spend the period of time in mattress you want.

References

Click right here to view the knowledge sources referenced on this article.

  1. Lger D, Beck F, Richard JB, Sauvet F, Faraut B. The dangers of sleeping an excessive amount of. Survey of a National Representative Sample of 24671 adults (INPES well being barometer). PLoS One. 2014 Sep 16;9(9):e106950.
  2. Klerman EB, Barbato G, Czeisler CA, Wehr TA. Can People Sleep Too Much? Effects of Extended Sleep Opportunity on Sleep Duration and Timing. Front Physiol. 2021 Dec 22;12:792942.

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