How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?

How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
04.04.2024

You may oversleep if you don’t get enough quality sleep at night. But if you’re regularly sleeping too long, it may indicate an underlying health condition.

Oversleeping, also known as “long sleeping,” is when you regularly sleep for more than 10 hours per day.

People are often concerned about not getting enough sleep. However, oversleeping may also pose several health risks and indicate the presence of an underlying health condition.

Keep reading to learn more about the potential causes, symptoms, and treatments for oversleeping.

How much sleep do you need?

The amount of sleep you need each night may depend on several factors, such as your age and lifestyle.

Here are the current guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation:

AgeHours of sleep per day
0–3 months14–17 hours (includes naps)
4–11 months12–15 hours (includes naps)
1–2 years11–14 hours (includes naps)
3–5 years10–13 hours
6–13 years9–11 hours
14–17 years8–10 hours
18–64 years7–9 hours
65 years and older7–8 hours

What causes oversleeping?

Oversleeping may simply be the result of catching up on the lost hours of sleep during a short time period, known as sleep debt.

For example, you may sleep for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period on the weekend because you stayed up late all week studying for a final exam.

That said, frequent oversleeping may indicate hypersomnia. This condition is characterized by feeling excessively sleepy during the day, as well as:

  • sleeping for periods of up to 18 hours each day
  • sleeping multiple times per day
  • not feeling awake after waking up
ALSO READ  Short Yoga Meditation Improves Sleep, Boosts Memory, Study

Sleeping disorders

Other sleeping conditions may also cause you to sleep for longer periods, including:

  • idiopathic hypersomnia
  • narcolepsy
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder
  • parasomnia
  • restless leg syndrome
  • depression

Medications and substances

Excessive sleepiness and oversleeping may be a side effect of taking certain medications and substances, including:

  • sedatives
  • cannabis
  • opioids
  • psychotropic drugs
  • hypertension drugs
  • antiepileptic drugs (AEDs)
  • alcohol
  • antidepressant drugs

It’s important to speak with a healthcare professional if you think certain medications or substances are causing you to oversleep. They could help you modify your treatment plan or get you support.

Head injury

A 2019 review found that 28% of people who experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience hypersomnia.

What are the symptoms of oversleeping?

Symptoms of oversleeping may depend on the underlying cause and whether oversleeping is chronic or short-term. These may include:

  • agitation
  • irritation
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • increased daytime naps
  • decreased appetite

You may also experience brain fogginess, sleep drunkenness, and memory problems.

What are the complications of oversleeping?

The complications associated with oversleeping depend on whether it’s short-term or chronic, as well as the underlying cause.

Oversleeping due to short periods of sleep deprivation may cause temporary anxiety, fogginess, and low energy.

However, regularly oversleeping may increase your risk of several health conditions, including:

  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • stroke
  • coronary heart disease
  • diabetes

It’s important to work with a healthcare professional if you’re regularly oversleeping. They could provide a proper diagnosis and help develop a treatment plan for you.

How is oversleeping diagnosed?

A doctor will perform a physical and medical history examination. This may include asking you questions about:

  • sleep habits
  • lifestyle and dietary habits
  • any medications and substances you may be taking
ALSO READ  Sleep loss linked to reduced positivity and heightened anxiety

The doctor may order tests to help them make a proper diagnosis of your sleeping condition. These may include:

  • polysomnography
  • multiple sleep latency tests
  • home sleep test for sleep apnea
  • other home tests to document whether you have daytime sleepiness

Before seeing a doctor, it’s recommended to record your sleeping habits in a sleep diary to help them better understand your sleeping patterns. This may include noting:

  • when you fall asleep
  • when you wake, and how you feel
  • how often you wake

After your appointment, a doctor will likely ask you to keep monitoring your sleeping patterns in a journal. They may also ask you to wear a wrist actigraph to help monitor your sleep-wake cycles.

How is oversleeping treated?

Treatment for oversleeping will depend on the underlying cause.

If an underlying health issue causes your oversleeping, treating the issue may help you start sleeping normally.

Your treatment plan may include a combination of lifestyle changes, at-home remedies, and medications.

Natural remedies

Some lifestyle changes and natural remedies may help you improve your sleep hygiene, which could help regulate your sleep.

According to the CDC, some natural remedies to improve your sleep may include:

  • keeping a consistent sleep schedule
  • getting at least 30 minutes of exercise during the day
  • not using electronic devices before bed
  • avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and food before bed

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may also help with oversleeping. This could be done with a licensed professional in person, online, or over the phone.

Learn more about how to build a better sleep routine.

Medications

Research suggests that medications are more effective at treating hypersomnia than at-home remedies and CBT.

A first-line medication treatment for hypersomnia caused by sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, is modafinil (Provigil). This is a wake-promoting drug.

ALSO READ  Can Taking Magnesium and Melatonin Together Help You Sleep Better?

Depending on the underlying cause of oversleeping, other medications that may help treat oversleeping include:

  • pitolisant (Wakix)
  • solriamfetol (Sunosi)
  • sodium oxybate (Xyrem)

Frequently asked questions

What happens when you oversleep?

Short-term oversleeping may cause drowsiness, fatigue, anxiety, and brain fogginess. However, chronic oversleeping has been associated with several health conditions, such as sleep apnea, idiopathic hypersomnia, diabetes, and stroke, among others.

Is it normal to sleep for 12 hours?

Sleeping for 12 hours is above the National Sleep Foundation‘s recommendations for people ages 6 years and older. Speak with a healthcare professional if you regularly sleep 12 hours per day.

Why am I sleeping too much?

You may be sleeping too much to recover from a period of intense physical activity or short sleep duration. Chronic oversleeping may be a sign of a sleeping condition or underlying health condition.

What to do when oversleeping?

Some ways to help you get up and going after oversleeping include drinking water, doing yoga, eating food, splashing water in your face, and getting physical activity.

Takeaway Note

Oversleeping refers to sleeping for at least 10 hours in a 24-hour period.

Temporary oversleeping could simply be a result of recuperating from hours lost the previous days.

However, speak with a healthcare professional if you regularly sleep for at least 9 hours and still feel tired during the day. This may be a sign of an underlying health condition.

A doctor could help provide a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Latest

Most read