Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sleep?
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sleep?
You probably know that not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your physical and mental wellbeing, but did you know that getting too much sleep can be harmful too? When you’re well rested, you feel better and can perform better in your daily tasks. Getting the right amount of sleep is one more tool in your healthier sleep toolkit, and we’re here to help you figure out what’s just right for you.
How Much is Too Much?
For starters, let’s define “too much” sleep. The ideal amount of sleep will differ from person to person and will depend on health and age factors. Remember, babies and young children will sleep many more hours than an adult. For adults, the average range is anywhere from seven to nine hours.
At a minimum, you should be getting at least six hours of sleep per night, and an average of seven to nine hours is a healthy target. Ten hours is about the longest you should sleep per night on a regular basis.
It’s important to note that if you sleep for ten or more hours occasionally, on the weekends or while you are sick, that isn’t the same as chronic oversleeping. If you are oversleeping on a regular basis it might be time to get a sleep study or discuss your sleep habits with a doctor.
Effects of Oversleeping
Have you ever woken up from a nap feeling even more tired and groggy than you did when you went to sleep? Oversleeping is kind of like that - it can leave you feeling sleepy and unfocused throughout the day. It’s estimated that about 2% of the population are long sleepers, and the sleep disorder usually begins in childhood and continues throughout life. But what does chronic oversleeping mean for your health?
Oversleeping is linked to the following negative outcomes. Further research is being done in all areas to determine underlying causes or co-factors that could result in these negative health effects.
These effects and more might be the result of oversleeping, so check with a doctor if you’re worried you may be a chronic long-sleeper or hypersomniac. It is possible that oversleeping may also indicate poor sleep quality, which can be resolved with the help of your doctor.
When to See a Doctor About Your Sleep
Whether you sleep too little or too much, you can make an appointment with your doctor to discuss ways to improve your sleep health. Your doctor can help you manage medications (some might make you drowsy or impair your ability to sleep well) or recommend ways to help improve your sleep.
Before seeing a professional, you might want to keep a sleep journal or track your sleep with a fitness tracker so that you can discuss your symptoms and any trends in your sleep habits. Keeping a food journal can help as well, because you might have sleep issues triggered by late night snacks or eating certain types of food or drinks before bedtime.
If your sleep (too much or too little) is affecting your daily life and impairing your driving, work, or normal functioning, call your doctor to find a solution.
How to Get a Healthier Night’s Sleep
It may take a while to create these healthier sleep habits, but you can incorporate one or two of them at a time to figure out which ideas help you feel well-rested.
- Set a Bedtime: A sleep schedule isn’t just for kids; setting a regularly scheduled bedtime for yourself (even on the weekend) will help your body prepare for rest.
- Limit Caffeine: Switch to decaf in the afternoon and reduce your caffeine intake if you have trouble sleeping. Each person’s tolerance is different, so you may have to do some exploring and adjust your intake gradually to find the right level for you.
- Power Down: We’ve said it a million times, but it’s true! Turn off your electronics to end screen time 1-2 hours before bed. The blue light from electronics can throw off your natural rhythm and keep you from sleeping well.
- Exercise: Daily exercise is important for a healthier lifestyle, including sleep! Just ten minutes of cardio a day can help you sleep better.
- Pick the Right Pillow: The fluffiness (or loft) of your pillow has a big impact on how you can sleep on it. People who sleep on their side have different pillow needs than people who are back or stomach sleepers. Review our blog on picking the right pillow to see if your pillow is ideal.
What Do You Think?
Is there such a thing as too much sleep? How much sleep are you getting each night?