We live in a world where people praise themselves for sleeping too little. But did you know that sleeping too long isn’t great, either? Discover below the oversleeping side effects. It can change your life from the comfort of your bed without you knowing.
A bad night’s sleep can lead to a groggy morning. You blame the sleep conditions and the short sessions, but did you pause to consider you might’ve overslept? Yes, good sleep means you need both quality and the right amount. Don’t take our word for it, let’s see what science tells us.
What Is Oversleeping?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least eight hours of non-interrupted sleep. This means you don’t wake up to feed babies, check phone notifications, or go on trips to the bathroom. They also established a sleep optimal time frame between 7-9h of sleep for adults between the ages of 16 and 64 years old.
What goes beyond 9 hours of sleep for over six weeks can become a sleeping issue. Oversleeping can mean waking up at 7 AM for somebody that’s used to waking up at 6 AM. It can stand for sleeping eight hours when you’re accustomed to rest for seven. This shows you have to see what your body needs to function properly.
What Are Oversleeping Side Effects?
Oversleeping studies are still in the incipient phases. Similar to the chicken and the egg, some don’t know what came first, the physical that led to oversleeping and to mental side effects or the other way around.
Maybe you were depressed, you overslept, and developed obesity; but you might’ve also been in pain, you overslept, and developed depression. What we do know is that sleep is important to let the brain breathe and eliminate waste, to balance neurotransmitters, and to process memories.
Mental Side Effects
Cognitive impairment: The world’s largest sleep study indicates that too much sleep can be bad for the brain and this affects the whole body. Participants showed the areas most affected by sleep were reasoning and verbal abilities. Some even had delays in answering or reacting and found it hard to remember new words.
Sleep hangover: This translates into wanting to sleep some more. People had trouble focusing at work and had little patience with small talk at home.
Depression: Most mental issues bring cognitive impairment, but depression and anxiety were also mentioned.
Sleeping is a solitary act; it also happens in dark spaces and it doesn’t come with challenges that make you look forward to a brighter tomorrow. When you sleep for half of the day, everything will be affected, you won’t have time to balance work and social life.
Premature Aging: Further analysis brings light on the mental issues that arise with longer bed resting.
Scientists indicate that people are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia early on if they sleep longer. Long sleep sessions can make the brain fuzzy when it needs to be active after the required rest period.
Physical Side Effects
Circadian Rhythm Disorders: Happen when your internal clock is unbalanced. You eat at weird hours; you sleep like a night owl and wake up at lunch.
Obesity: Another study shows that “long sleepers” are more likely to have or developmental diseases along with physical changes, like a higher BMI – body mass index.
This can translate into both people that eat more usually sleep longer because they feel tired; but also, into people that sleep long, eat more, or do less outdoor exercising.
Inflammation: Pain from laying too long on a bed and not getting enough natural vitamin D from the sun can cause inflammation in the body.
This can turn into diabetes or glucose intolerance, low immunity, and even impaired fertility. Your body is constantly fighting off its own cells to help recover the body, but it’s a vicious cycle.
Dehydration: When you sleep longer hours, your body is deprived of nutrients. This can lead to dehydration, but also to anorexia and anemia. You will also deprive your body of caffeine and this can lead to headaches, too.
Heart issues: Circulation doesn’t function properly when bombarded with a laying position and more weight. These slow down the body and can even lead to strokes.
Higher death rates: Small studies show that people who sleep more than nine hours have higher death rates, but it hasn’t been proved on larger scales.
How to Avoid Oversleeping?
Oversleeping doesn’t always show on your body like you might think. If you have recurrent headaches or problems operating heavy equipment it might be a red flag to check with your doctor.
It’s important to keep a sleep diary if you’re feeling off for over two weeks, to make it easy to explain what you’re going through.
Watch Your Diet
Avoid eating two hours before you sleep, so your body has finished digestion.
What you drink, especially when alcohol is involved, can also manifest as oversleeping because it stresses the body.
Keep a Routine
Consistency is essential for a healthy sleep routine. Establish the right amount of sleep personalized to your needs and know that if you work out, you might need a bit more sleep. It takes time to establish a pattern, but you have to try, fail, and try again.
Then, develop a sleep schedule. Create an ideal sleep environment without devices. Make sure you have a balanced lifestyle, which includes time spent outdoors, preferably exercising. It’s important to keep this even during the weekend, so you don’t disrupt the natural sleep cycle.
Play with Gadgets
If you need a nudge to wake up at the right time, keep the alarm as far as possible and leave the blinds slightly open for light to enter your bedroom.
To decide your wake time use apps to get started. They will help you schedule when to wake up so you go through all the four phases.
Start with these:
In the end, busy days crave comfort and create creatures of (bad) habits. But balance is key in everything, even when it comes to sleeping. This is not the end, but the beginning of a better night and a restful morning. Just pay attention to what your body is telling you and stop hitting the snooze button!