Why Do You Sleep So A lot? The Shocking Science

Reviewed by Jennifer Martin, PhD

Perhaps you’ve seen the headlines about how oversleeping has been linked to a higher threat of illness and demise. Should you’re the form of one who often clocks greater than eight hours of slumber, these information tales have most likely made you surprise, “Why do I sleep a lot? And is it unhealthy for me?”

On this story, sleep specialists aid 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: Likelihood is, 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 night time. However that’s a mean, 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 Resolution and The Rested Little one, and co-author of Precision Diet’s Sleep, Stress Administration, and Restoration Teaching Certification.

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

1. Individuals who want fewer than 7 hours of sleep

Known as Pure Quick Sleepers, these genetically-gifted of us don’t want as a lot sleep as the typical particular person.

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

Right here’s an necessary caveat, although. Loads of individuals who get lower than seven hours aren’t Pure Quick Sleepers. Relatively, they skimp on sleep for different causes, starting from revenge-bedtime procrastination to parenthood to an “at all times on” work ethic.

Should you’re not genetically a Pure Quick Sleeper, skimping on sleep possible means you’ll both…

▶ really feel like rubbish the subsequent day

▶ gained’t really feel like rubbish the subsequent day—however solely since you’re so used to the consequences of sleep deprivation that you just’ve not keep in mind what it feels wish to be nicely rested

Along with the above, over time, your threat for coronary heart illness, most cancers, and kind 2 diabetes can go up as nicely.

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

2. Individuals who want greater than 9 hours of sleep

As a result of their genetic make-up, Pure Lengthy Sleepers often want 10, 11, or 12 hours as a way to really feel refreshed. Their genetics additionally trigger them to really feel drained extra shortly than different folks.

Additionally on this longer-sleeping class: youngsters, youngsters, and plenty of younger adults, all of whom want extra sleep so their our bodies can proceed to develop, says Jennifer Martin, PhD, Professor of Drugs on the College of California, Los Angeles and likewise a co-author Precision Diet’s Sleep, Stress Administration, and Restoration Teaching Certification.

Sure prescription medicines also can enhance sleep time, says Dr. Martin.

“Often this impact is reversed when the particular person stops the treatment, and in some instances, the sleepiness is decreased as soon as the particular person will get used to the treatment,” she says.

3. Individuals who want 13+ hours of sleep

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

“Should you discover you might be one in all these folks, it may be a sign that there’s something flawed together with your sleep high quality, not essentially the amount,” Dr. Winter says. For instance, sleep issues like sleep apnea and insomnia can disrupt sleep, inflicting folks to wake feeling unrefreshed.

A wide range of well being situations—together with epilepsy, Parkinson’s illness, and despair—also can result in hypersomnia, which is the lack to remain awake. Narcolepsy, one other hypersomnia situation, causes folks to really feel drained on a regular basis, main them to go to sleep at inappropriate and harmful occasions, comparable to whereas on a date or driving a car. These issues require medical remedy.

Should you suspect any of the above is true for you, it’s a fantastic 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 have to be sleeping,” says Dr. Winter.

That’s as a result of our our bodies all have a sleep set level—known as “homeostasis.” Get too little sleep one night time and your physique will reply by craving extra sleep the subsequent. Alternatively, you will have seen: Should you accumulate extra sleep than typical by sleeping in on a weekend, you’ll possible end up unsleeping later that night.

There are, nonetheless, some exceptions. Extra about these under.

(Discover out: Would YOU make a fantastic sleep coach?)

Does oversleeping hurt your well being?

Regardless of all the scary headlines, it’s possible that lengthy sleep itself poses little to no well being issues. That’s as a result of, in individuals who sleep greater than most, it’s typically the results of a persistent well being downside, not the trigger, finds analysis.1,2

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

These well being issues embrace:

▶ 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

▶ Despair

▶ Continual fatigue syndrome

▶ Coronary heart illness

For the above situations, it’s necessary to notice that oversleeping doesn’t trigger them. Relatively, it’s a symptom of them.

For instance, sleep apnea repeatedly wakes folks, typically for transient moments, in the course of the night time, which may result in hypersomnia (extreme sleepiness in the course of the day) in addition to a robust want to remain in mattress longer than eight hours or to take a nap in the course of the afternoon.

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

Should you often get greater than 10 hours, and you are feeling energetic and clear headed in the course of the day, that’s nice! Get pleasure from your slumber with out concern. You probably don’t have anything to fret about.

Alternatively, for those who spend your days craving a nap—drained, mind fogged, irritated, and resolution fatigued—there could also be an underlying problem value exploring together with your physician.

(Be taught extra: Why folks with insomnia swear by CBT-I.)

4 Sleep Habits That Enhance Sleep High quality

Should you’re all in favour of sleeping extra restfully, contemplate forming any of the next sleep habits.

Create a sleep oasis. When your sleep atmosphere makes you’re feeling secure and comfy, it’s simpler in your mind to chill out, permitting you to sleep extra deeply.

Block out gentle. Your circadian rhythm responds to adjustments in gentle. For most individuals, the darker the room, the higher they sleep. Should you can’t get your room as darkish as wanted, contemplate experimenting with a sleep masks that covers your eyes and blocks out gentle.

Regulate the temperature. Along with gentle, your circadian rhythm additionally responds to adjustments in temperature, making you’re feeling sleepy as your physique cools down. Taking a scorching bathtub or bathe earlier than mattress can trick your physique that it’s time to sleep because it’s cooling down. One other tactic: Set your thermostat so it reduces the ambient temperature by a pair levels at night time.

If scorching flashes are retaining you awake, contemplate investing in cooling mattress pads or utilizing a fan. (Learn extra: Menopause and sleep).

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

(Learn extra: How you can sleep higher.)

Can sleeping an excessive amount of make you drained?

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

There are two possible causes for this phenomenon.

1. Oversleeping is commonly a response to undersleeping

Some folks sleep 10+ hours on the weekends as a result of they’re sleeping six or fewer hours in the course of the week.

“One purpose folks really feel drained after sleeping rather a lot is that they nonetheless haven’t paid again their sleep money owed from prior nights,” says Dr. Martin. “If you’re 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.

Should you often wake at 6 am, sleeping in on the weekends will disrupt your mind’s potential to launch the neurochemicals wanted for that refreshed, ready-to-slay-the-world feeling.

“It’s actually extra about sleep timing than sleep quantity,” explains Dr. Winter. “The mind’s timing cues are being disrupted.”

Amongst these timing cues:

✅ Overhead and out of doors gentle that units your mind’s circadian clock

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

✅ Conversations with housemates that nudge you to “get up! assume!”

✅ Caffeine

✅ Breakfast

✅ That feeling of being rushed as you race out the door

If you often oversleep, you deprive your mind of some or all of these cues. A few of the wakeup indicators won’t happen in any respect. Others, like overhead lighting and caffeine, happen hours later than your mind is used to getting them.

Finish consequence: you’re feeling drained.

How will you inform for those who’re sleeping an excessive amount of?  

Dr. Winter suggests you contemplate this query:

In the course of the day, for those who sit right down to learn a e-book or watch a present, do you’re feeling a robust urge to nod off?

If the reply is sure, it’s a sign that you just’re not getting sufficient restorative sleep at night time, which can be an indication of a sleep problem or sleep high quality problem, he says.

Alternatively, for those who’re clocking lots of bedtime hours and really feel energized in the course of the day, 10+ hours might simply be your pure sleep sample.

“If you’re a protracted sleeper and really feel good, don’t fear about it,” says Dr. Martin. “Do your finest to spend the period of time in mattress you want.”


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

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