We always talk about the importance of sleep, not just the number of hours of sleep but also the quality of sleep. But have you ever considered that you are sleeping too much? Can that really happen? Yes, it can!
If you have been feeling tired and cannot drag yourself out of bed, maybe too much sleep could be the problem. Everyone experiences insomnia and sleep deprivation at some points in time. There are harmful effects of oversleeping. Sleeping too much can bring about underlying health conditions like depression and certain chronic diseases.
It sounds good but we should not be sleeping 12 hours a day. We do need a certain amount each night to help restore our energy and support body functions, but too much sleep can be problematic.
How much sleep should I be getting? The National Sleep Foundation believes that getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night is normal and healthy for most adults. This is what is needed to feel energized and operate at your best. Getting around 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night has several benefits:
- A better mood
- Improved concentration
- Lower risk for obesity and many diseases
They also found that getting over 9 hours of sleep seems to be too much. Consistently oversleeping is called hypersomnia and is more than 9 hours and it can indicate that something is wrong whether mentally or physically. This is true when you wake up and still don’t feel rested or healthy.
There are many causes of oversleeping. Sometimes it can be a symptom of certain medical conditions such as:
- What you eat is very important
- Unbalanced hormones
- Chronic pain
- Chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases
- Issues with breathing due to smoking, asthma, and obesity
- Side effects from medications
- Chronic stress
- Sleep disorders including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and bruxism
Diet is a huge factor in a person’s health and it impacts sleep quality. Poor nutrition increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine confirmed these findings. The study further confirms that just one day of eating foods high in sugar can result in reduced duration of slow-wave sleep which is referred to as “deep sleep”. This is the part of sleep that restores physical and mental energy and more.
Spicy and acidic foods can kill efforts to good sleep quality because it can cause heartburn. Heartburn is very problematic for people with acid reflux. Eating these foods close to bedtime because lying down makes heartburn worse. It is uncomfortable and hinders sleep.
An old wise tale is to drink warm milk before bed. Milk contains tryptophan. The body uses tryptophan to make serotonin which is a neurotransmitter in the brain. Serotonin helps control sleep patterns, appetite, pain, and other functions but does not contain enough tryptophan to change your sleep patterns.
If you are overweight, losing those pounds can help tremendously. Losing the excess weight will help with other conditions that contribute to poor sleep such as high blood pressure, circulation issues, energy, and the ability to rest peacefully.
Have you ever been in bed at night and think “tick tock, tick tock, etc.”? It’s 3 am and your up and frustrated. We know that sleep is one of the most important needs in life. We need it to function. Without it, we break down physically and mentally. Diet and lifestyle habits are hard to break but they could be sabotaging your efforts to get quality sleep. A study from the National Center on Sleep Disorders at the National Institute of Health concludes that foods we consume can interfere with sleep. The most common is caffeine and sugar; not to mention nicotine.
We like to keep you off medication at New Vitality Centers but if worse comes to worse, a sleeping pill could help if used in moderation. Use caution with sleeping pills because it is merely a band-aid for the symptoms. A doctor may prescribe sleeping pills on a short-term basis for patients who are having a stressful period in their life.
Lifestyle habits can play a leading role in quality of sleep or lack of sleep. The Cleveland Clinic recommends these tips for good sleep:
- Not going to bed until you are tired
- Setting a regular schedule to get up, even on weekends
- Not napping during the day
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine at night
- Not watching TV, eating, or reading in bed
- Following the same bedtime routines
- Avoid rigorous exercise 3 hours before bed
- Invest in a high-quality mattress
- Exercise during the day
- Talk to your doctor about medications that could be interfering with sleep
Warning Signs of Too Much Sleep
If you’re wondering if you are sleeping too much, take a look at these warning signs:
- Your’re always tired.
- You are moody and irritable
- Pain is getting worse from laying down too much
- Your’re getting headaches and brain fog
- You have slower reaction times and mental performance
- Inflammation is worsening
- Weight gain
Sleeping too much is linked to higher rates of inflammation, weight gain, mortality, and chronic disease. Too much sleep is also has a negative effect on hormones and circadian cycles. This can cause changes in reproductive hormones and fertility issues.
There are many side effects that can result from too much sleep:
- Cognitive impairment such as memory issues, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Increased risk for depression or worsened depression
- Increased inflammation, swelling, and pain because of less blood flow
- Higher risk of obesity
- Higher risk for heart disease (One study found that people who slept consistently more than 8 hours a night has double the risk of angina chest pains which is caused by reduced flood flow)
- Impaired glucose tolerance which can lead to Type 2 diabetes
- Impaired fertility
- Higher risk of strokeRemember, most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. This supports a healthy weight, brain, mood, heart, metabolism and more.
New Vitality Centers
665 S. Kings Ave.
Brandon, FL 33511