Everyone knows that sleeping is one of the best things that you can do to look after yourself. It’s relaxing, it gives you a reset, refreshes you, and it’s easily the best way to end your day.
Have you ever thought how much sleep you should be getting, and are you getting too much? Does oversleeping cause any harm?
Let’s take a look at the effects of oversleeping, how it can affect your circadian rhythm, and other related side effects.
How much sleep should you be getting?
Typically, adults eight hours of sleep for optimal rest. This is enough to recover from a general workday or day-to-day tasks.
Getting less than eight hours of sleep reduces the time spent in the deep sleep phase, meaning the body has less time to rest and recover from the day.
Some people try to compensate for missing sleep during the week by oversleeping on weekends, but doing that isn’t ideal for your body and sleep patterns. Worst case, constantly oversleeping can even cause sleep problems.
How to know if you’re oversleeping?
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep is still considered normal, but sleeping for more than nine hours a day is considered oversleeping.
It all depends from person to person, as some people need shorter average sleep times, especially as they get older.
A simple trick would be to know the average hours of sleep you get every night and add two hours to it. Say you sleep eight hours a day on average, then ten hours would be considered as oversleeping for your case.
The kinds of oversleeping
Oversleeping from time to time
Getting some extra sleep every now and again is fine, but remember it shouldn’t become the standard.
Sneaking in a few more hours of sleep disrupts your normal sleep-wake cycle, which can carry over to your normal patterns.
Getting the extra hours of sleep can also be counterintuitive, as instead of waking up feeling more refreshed, you’re likely to wake up feeling more tired, or even with a headache.
These headaches are from the disruption of how your brain normally functions. In this case, your body is asleep, but your brain has already finished its sleep cycle.
For some people, oversleeping regularly could be diagnosed as a medical condition; this sleep disorder is called hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is when a person experiences extreme sleepiness that results in sleeping for extended hours at night and bouts of sleepiness during the day.
People living with hypersomnia feel lethargic when they’re awake, and the effects of it may also affect their mental health and cause other physical health problems.
Why is oversleeping bad for you?
Studies on sleep have revealed that oversleeping can bring a greater risk for health issues that are easily prevented by regularly getting the right amount of sleep. There are many downsides to oversleeping. Here are the most common ones:
Sleeping too much too often puts you at a higher risk of weight gain and diabetes. It is shown in studies that blood sugar fluctuations occur when you oversleep.
Studies have found that oversleeping regularly contributes to a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. There is still no clear correlation between how the risk gets higher from oversleeping, but multiple studies show that there is an increased risk.
Mental health issues
One of the negative impacts and side effects of chronic oversleeping is depression and experiencing anxiety. Oversleeping can be a symptom or a cause of these mental health problems.
How to avoid oversleeping
Track and observer your sleep patterns
The easiest way to avoid oversleeping is to learn more about your personal sleep habits. Be more aware of how much sleep you get in a day and log them in a sleep diary.
Using sleep trackers on mobile phones and smartwatches is a valuable way to understand your sleep duration and how much time you spend on each cycle.
Trackers are getting more and more accurate with logging your sleep, and the data gives plenty of insight into your sleep quality and sleep stages.
Set a sleep schedule
One of the best ways to get better sleep is to consistently follow a sleep schedule. Set a time for yourself to go to bed, and ensure that you also wake up at a consistent time in the morning.
Practise sleep hygiene
More than just lying down in bed, your routine an hour before bed plays a big role in how you sleep.. For example, consuming alcohol can make you sleep, but it doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep.
Avoid drinking before bed, and also avoid high intensity exercise before bed. As much as these activities tire you out and help with sleep, they aren’t necessarily great when it comes to allowing your body to fully recover and rest.
Instead, set up your bedroom to be a holistic sleeping environment. Dim the lights, keep the room quiet, set the thermostat at your most comfortable temperature, and don’t forget to set your alarm. These are the best ways to get just enough sleep to get you through the next day.