How many hours of sleep are you getting a night? Are one of the millions of Americans who are working too hard, and sleep deprived? Maybe you get plenty of sleep, but you are still wishing you could get more. How about too much sleep? We hear over and over how important it is to make sure we are getting the recommended eight hours of sleep, and how detrimental to our health it is.
Effects of sleep on health
Did know that getting too much sleep can have the opposite effect, and have an adverse reaction to your health? Just like our dietary needs change as we age, so do our sleep needs. A little-known fact is that in different stages of life you will need varying amounts of sleep.
For example, newborns need anywhere from fourteen to seventeen hours of sleep, whereas a preschooler (three to five years old) needs approximately ten to thirteen hours of sleep. Now, the average healthy adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep, but studies say too much sleep could be any amount of time that exceeds between nine to ten hours of rest in a twenty-four-hour period.
What are some reasons that someone may need too much sleep?
Hypersomnia is a condition that affects nearly 5% of the population, and those who suffer from it have a continual need for sleep. People with this disorder can’t seem to sleep enough, other symptoms may include grogginess, feeling tired all day, and general desire to sleep even if they’ve just woken up from a nap or have gotten the required amount of sleep.
Though other reasons for oversleeping can also be caused by a person’s general desire to sleep more than average. Perhaps it’s something they like to do in their free time, or on the weekends after a week of sleep deprivation. Although, depression also causes people to desire or need more sleep than usual. People who suffer from depression, often find it hard to do normal things, such as getting up and getting ready for the day. As a result, they are more prone to sleep longer periods of time.
Can sleeping too much really be harmful to your health?
Several studies say that the answer to this question is yes. Some of the side effects over time for those who sleep too much are shorter life spans. Our bodies require a certain amount of activity and sleeping means that we don’t get our blood flowing and our heart beating at healthy levels. It can also mean increased risks of a stroke, which has been detected in people who oversleep. Sleeping too much can also result in obesity and a greater risk for developing diabetes.
Am I sleeping too much? How to tell.
Because our bodies have varying needs, and those are different from person to person, it can be a struggle to figure out whether you’re getting enough sleep, or too much. If you are struggling to keep your eyes open during the day but find yourself restless and unable to sleep at night, here are some suggestions that may be of use.
- Start a sleep journal, just like for dieting, it is helpful to keep track of when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Even adding tiny bits of information, like the times you felt tired or times you felt full of energy.
- We are wired to feel less energetic in the afternoon, and the middle of the night. So if you find yourself lethargic or tired during those times, your sleep patterns may actually be okay.
- Are you at a healthy weight? Being overweight even if you eat well, or exercise normally can be a sign that you are getting too much sleep.
- What is your caffeine intake? If you are relying too heavily on coffee throughout the day, monitor your sleep patterns by using the suggestion on number one, and find out if you’re just sleeping too much, or too little.
It’s important to take care of yourself so you feel rested and can preserve your longevity. Remember to get enough sleep, but not too much, exercise at least twenty minutes a day and be careful about what you eat. All of these are contributors to your health, so make the decisions that are going to help you be a healthier, better you.