Why Do You Sleep So A lot? The Shocking Science

Reviewed by Jennifer Martin, PhD

Possibly you’ve seen the headlines about how oversleeping has been linked to a higher danger of illness and dying. When you’re the sort of one that usually clocks greater than eight hours of slumber, these information tales have in all probability made you surprise, “Why do I sleep a lot? And is it unhealthy for me?”

On this story, sleep specialists assist you to perceive the most recent science. You’ll discover out what actually occurs once you oversleep, together with the way it impacts your well being.

(Spoiler: Chances are high, 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. However that’s a mean, not a good-health edict.

“As you begin to transfer out in both course, there are individuals who require barely extra and barely much less sleep,” says Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist, creator of The Sleep Answer and The Rested Little one, and co-author of Precision Vitamin’s Sleep, Stress Administration, and Restoration Teaching Certification.

Above (and beneath) common sleepers fall into three principal classes.

1. Individuals who want fewer than 7 hours of sleep

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

Elevated ranges of a hormone referred to 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 Brief Sleepers. Slightly, they skimp on sleep for different causes, starting from revenge-bedtime procrastination to parenthood to an “all the time on” work ethic.

When you’re not genetically a Pure Brief Sleeper, skimping on sleep doubtless 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 simply’ve not bear in mind what it feels prefer to be effectively rested

Along with the above, over time, your danger for coronary heart illness, most cancers, and sort 2 diabetes can go up as effectively.

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

2. Individuals who want greater than 9 hours of sleep

As a consequence of their genetic make-up, Pure Lengthy Sleepers often want 10, 11, or 12 hours with a purpose 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 Vitamin’s Sleep, Stress Administration, and Restoration Teaching Certification.

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

“Often this impact is reversed when the individual stops the treatment, and in some instances, the sleepiness is lowered as soon as the individual 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, they usually nonetheless wake feeling drained.

“When you discover you’re considered one of these folks, it is perhaps a sign that there’s something incorrect 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.

Quite a lot of well being situations—together with epilepsy, Parkinson’s illness, and despair—can even result in hypersomnia, which is the shortcoming 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 instances, corresponding to whereas on a date or driving a car. These issues require medical therapy.

When you suspect any of the above is true for you, it’s an important factor to say to your physician.

What occurs once you sleep an excessive amount of?

“For the typical individual, if they’re sleeping, they in all probability must 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 evening and your physique will reply by craving extra sleep the subsequent. Alternatively, you might have observed: When you acquire extra sleep than normal by sleeping in on a weekend, you’ll doubtless end up awake later that night.

There are, nevertheless, some exceptions. Extra about these beneath.

(Discover out: Would YOU make an important sleep coach?)

Does oversleeping hurt your well being?

Regardless of the entire scary headlines, it’s doubtless 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 continual well being drawback, not the trigger, finds analysis.1,2

Often, the issue is bi-directional, which means the well being drawback disturbs sleep, which worsens the well being drawback, which ends up 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

▶ Melancholy

▶ Continual fatigue syndrome

▶ Coronary heart illness

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

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

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

When you usually get greater than 10 hours, and you are feeling energetic and clear headed throughout the day, that’s nice! Get pleasure from your slumber with out worry. You almost certainly don’t have anything to fret about.

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

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

4 Sleep Habits That Enhance Sleep High quality

When you’re occupied with sleeping extra restfully, think about forming any of the next sleep habits.

Create a sleep oasis. When your sleep surroundings makes you’re feeling secure and comfy, it’s simpler to 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. When you can’t get your room as darkish as wanted, think about experimenting with a sleep masks that covers your eyes and blocks out gentle.

Modify 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 tub 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 evening.

If scorching flashes are preserving you awake, think about 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: sleep higher.)

Can sleeping an excessive amount of make you drained?

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

There are two doubtless 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 throughout the week.

“One cause 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. “In case you are very sleep disadvantaged, it takes a number of days to get again on observe and ‘catch up.’”

2. Sleeping in can disrupt sleep-wake signaling.

When 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 outside 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

While you often oversleep, you deprive your mind of some or all of these cues. A few 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.

Finish consequence: you’re feeling drained.

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

Dr. Winter suggests you think about this query:

In the course of the day, for those who sit all the way down to learn a guide 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 simply’re not getting sufficient restorative sleep at evening, which can be an indication of a sleep problem or sleep high quality difficulty, he says.

Alternatively, for those who’re clocking loads of bedtime hours and really feel energized throughout the day, 10+ hours may simply be your pure sleep sample.

“In case you are 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 data sources referenced on this article.

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