A young woman in bed after oversleeping not willing to get up

Oversleeping – How Much Sleep Is Too Much?

We often read how significant it is to sleep. Sleep experts always highlight the ill effects of not having enough sleep. The media, family, movies, everything scares us by reminding the after-effects of not sleeping much. What if you sleep too much? Is oversleeping bad? Is oversleeping a problem or a boon?

How much sleeping is oversleeping, and is it bad for you? Many researchers believe that sleeping more than needed can cause various serious health problems. In this article, we will discuss the optimal sleeping duration.

What Is Oversleeping?

The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, health, and activity levels. An average adult should sleep seven to nine hours a day. Sleeping duration is more for teenagers and children. If you sleep more than 8 or 9 hours in a day it can be categorized as oversleeping. 

You can oversleep due to medical conditions or an unhealthy lifestyle. We will discuss that in detail in the next section.

A young girl sleeping on a bed at night

What Causes Oversleeping?

Do you often ask yourselves, ‘Why do I sleep so much?’

Often our stress level, health condition, and physical activity level make us sleep for longer hours. 

You must have heard of insomnia, the inability to fall asleep. Hypersomnia, on the other hand, is if someone sleeps more than needed. According to NCBI, hypersomnia is a medical condition faced by 15-30% of the population. 

People suffering from hypersomnia sleep for hours during the daytime, and napping is not sufficient. People with the disease face symptoms like anxiety, low energy, and memory problems. 

Another disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, causes breathlessness during sleeping, leading to feeling lethargic and sleeping for more hours.

Sleeping disorders are not the only reason causing oversleeping. Other factors like alcohol, depression, and medications can also make you sleep for longer hours. And some people oversleep only because they love to!

Oversleeping Symptoms

Confused if you are suffering from too much sleep or not? According to National Sleep Foundation, below are the few warning signs you should look for:

  • Less Productive
  • Low on energy
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Extreme fatigue

If you have any of the symptoms, you should consider a sleep expert or a medical practitioner. A professional will help you know the source of your sleeping problem. 

A young man looking at his wristwatch after sleeping too long

How Much Is Sleep Too Much?

Your age, medical conditions, and activity level play a huge role in deciding that. 

  • Infants and children usually need to sleep more than adults. 
  • People with medical conditions like depression sleep more or less than required.
  • A highly active person sleeps more to rest their body.

Normal Sleeping Hours as Per Age

AgeHours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn Baby14-17 Hours
Infants12-15 Hours
Toddlers11-14 Hours
School Children9-11 Hours
Teenagers8-10 Hours
Adults7-9 Hours
Elders7-8 Hours

If a person sleeps more than required, he/she is suffering from excessive sleeping. 

Side Effects of Oversleeping

If you are not sleeping for the optimal hours, you are inviting various health problems. Researchers have linked these health problems with oversleeping:

Fatigue

As crazy as it sounds, oversleeping can lead to feeling more tired than ever. Sleeping all day can disturb your body’s natural rhythm, making you feel tired.

Headaches

Oversleeping may disrupt your night’s sleep and, as a result, causing headaches. Headaches from oversleeping are due to the effect it has on your brain. 

Obesity

Oversleeping resists you from indulging in an active lifestyle. Consequently, this boosts unhealthy weight gain. 

Diabetes

Researches show that an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to diabetes. Oversleeping can increase the risk of diabetes.

Back Pain

People who suffer from back pain are usually recommended to sleep more. But now, doctors focus on sleeping for adequate hours rather than oversleeping. 

A young woman suffering with back pain while working in her office at home

Depression

Depression and oversleeping walk hand in hand. Oversleeping can worsen your depression. Many people link insomnia with depression, but sleeping excess can also make your depression worse. 

Increased Risk of Death

People who sleep more than required are exposed to a risk of premature death. Some studies show that death has an indirect relationship with oversleeping. 

How to Stop Oversleeping?

Once you are aware of the problem, it’s easier to cure it. If you have had sleep-related issues for more than six weeks, we recommend seeing a sleep expert.

The doctor will ask questions about your sleeping habits, lifestyle, diet, and medications. If you do not have a sleeping disorder, a doctor may recommend you the following:

  • Keep track of your sleep cycle
  • Have a sleep diary
  • Take a polysomnogram
  • Take a multiple sleep latency test

Other Things You Can Do to Prevent Oversleeping

  • Expose yourself to sunlight as soon as you wake up
  • Avoid oversleeping on weekends
  • Try getting enough sleep during the night
  • Avoid taking excessive caffeine after 4 PM

4 Tips for Better Sleep

Get a good night sleep by following the steps below:

1. Develop a Sleep Schedule

Regularize your sleeping and waking up time. When you sleep and wake up at the same time every day, your body naturally starts feeling sleepy at the same time. 

2. Build an Ideal Sleep Environment

It’s naturally easy to sleep in a comfortable environment. A calm, silent, dark surrounding will help to fall into deep slumber easily. 

You can build an ideal sleep environment with the following steps:

  • Use curtains to darken your room.
  • Avoid sleeping with pets and children.
  • Avoid sleeping with the television on.
  • Listen to white noise to calm your mind.
  • Use a comfortable pillow and mattress.  
  • Avoid napping for more than 20 minutes.

3. Stay Away From Screens

Avoid using mobiles, laptops or tablets, two to three hours before your sleeping time. Digital devices emit blue light, which disturbs your natural circadian rhythm. 

4. Adopt Good Lifestyle Habits

Taking care of your lifestyle habits can improve your sleeping. Avoid taking caffeine and alcohol after 4 PM; you can consume herbal tea as a substitute. Another thing you can keep in mind is not exercising just before your sleeping time, as it may disrupt your sleep.

To read more tips on sleeping better, click here.

Conclusion

It’s tempting and advised to sleep more to feel more active. However, as you have learned in the article, sleeping more does not always lead to feeling more energetic. 

If you are taking care of your lifestyle, eating habits, everything else, and still feeling the urge to sleep more, you should plan a visit to a doctor. Everybody loves to sleep, but oversleeping, in the long run, is not suitable for your health. For how many hours do you sleep every night?

FAQs

How to take a short nap without oversleeping?

  • Take a nap in the early afternoon.
  • Do not take a rest for longer than 20 minutes.
  • Do not replace napping with caffeine.

Is 6 hours of sleep enough?

No. A healthy adult should sleep at least 8 hours. Kids and teenagers should sleep more than adults. Read more about the harmful effects of 6 hours of sleep.

Can oversleeping cause headaches?

Yes, headache is one of the prominent side effects of oversleeping. 

Is oversleeping a sign of depression?

Yes. Other signs of depression are:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Change in appetite and more.

Does oversleeping make you more tired?

Yes. Most people think otherwise, but sleeping more than required can make you feel more tired than ever.

Can you die from too much sleep?

Oversleeping is linked to many severe conditions, including diabetes, anxiety, and dying.

How to feel better after oversleeping?

Go and feel the sunlight after you wake up from a long sleep. Exposure to natural light makes you feel better.