If you sleep too long or too little, there are strategies that can help you improve the quality of your sleep and avoid oversleeping.
You have probably heard the phrase: “Sleep well”. But what about oversleeping? Can you sleep too much
If you sleep more than the recommended daily amount, it may indicate that you are not resting as well as you think you are. Sleep disorders, medications, or medical conditions can be the underlying cause that can be treated.
Some people simply have a natural biological clock that requires them to sleep more hours. For this second group, known as late risers, treating the condition can mean incorporating a longer sleep pattern into their daily life.
Sleeping excessively has been linked to some health problems, but doctors don’t know if sleep was due to these health conditions or the cause.
How much sleep you need depends on your age. the
- 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours per night
- 18 to 60 years: 7 or more hours per night
- 61 to 65 years: 7 to 9 hours per night
- over 65 years: 7 to 8 hours per night
People who sleep longer are sometimes referred to as late risers. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), late risers need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed the next day.
Too much sleep can also fall under the definition of hypersomnia – a condition characterized by being overly tired during the day or sleeping prolonged at night.
So can you sleep too much? Although some people can oversleep regularly and have no health problems, sleeping long hours is also associated with health problems. However, it is not clear whether long sleep is due to other health problems or their cause.
The cause of long sleep is unknown. For some people, this may be their natural sleep pattern or the biological circadian rhythm.
Hypersomnia can be idiopathic – it has no known cause or it can be the result of:
- another sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea
- Autonomous nervous system or central nervous system dysfunction
- Prescription drugs
- Substance use
- Head injury or trauma
- Conditions like depression or obesity
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Late risers often have to wake up before their preferred time to cope with everyday life. You can catch up on this sleep on weekends and days off.
When you’re a late riser, what happens when you sleep too much is less important than what happens when you try to sleep less.
Fighting your natural sleep rhythm can make your symptoms worse or even lead to the development of another sleep disorder, according to the AASM.
Hypersomnia can have a number of side effects, including:
- Problems waking up from sleep
- Feelings of fear and irritation
- low energy level
- slow thinking and speaking
- Memory challenges
- Loss of appetite
Living with this condition can be challenging. Symptoms can often lead to problems at work, school, and your relationships.
The risk of falling asleep while doing activities like driving a car means you may be at a higher risk of car accidents.
Treatment for hypersomnia usually involves identifying and treating the underlying cause, if any.
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For hypersomnia with no known cause, a doctor may try to manage the symptoms of the condition. The following drugs can be recommended:
- Stimulants (amphetamine, methylphenidate, modafinil)
- Clonidine (Catapres)
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be recommended. It can help you learn coping techniques and self-help strategies to manage your symptoms.
If you have hypersomnia or are a late riser, there are a few strategies you can use to improve the quality of your sleep. These can include:
- Reducing stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes before bed
- regular exercise and a balanced diet
- Have a regular bedtime
- Eliminate distractions in the room you sleep in
You can also benefit from taking short naps during the day, especially when engaging in activities that require focus.
Also, if you’re a late riser, it might be a good idea to plan long sleep times into your day as often as possible to avoid developing another sleep state.
If you’re concerned or want more information, consider speaking to a doctor or psychologist. They may be able to provide better insight into other strategies to try and recommend further evaluation.
Hypersomnia or long sleep can make it difficult to cope with everyday life. Determining the underlying cause is often the first step in improving your symptoms.
If there’s no obvious cause for your symptoms, or you’re a late riser by nature, it can be helpful to incorporate a longer sleep schedule into your daily routine. New medications and conversational therapies can also help manage your symptoms.