Sleeping like a baby, it turns out, may be suitable only for babies! That sleep is necessary and good for our health is a commonly known and medically accepted fact. But, how much sleep is needed every day is not so well established yet. While babies and younger kids may sleep for more than 10 hours, research suggests that adolescents need about 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night. For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is anywhere between 6 to 9 hours.
While lack of good, quality sleep can affect people in many ways, oversleeping is not the solution to the problem. The physical side effects of oversleeping can also be debilitating and as dangerous as the lack of sleep. Oversleeping has been linked to many problems like depression, headache, diabetes, and obesity.
We may be inclined to oversleep due to a variety of factors. The reasons vary from something as simple as having undisturbed time, catching up on lost sleep to actual physical or psychological issues like depression, socioeconomic status, and so on.1 Here are some of the potential side effects of oversleeping you should be aware of.
Sleep disturbance of any form like a lack of sleep or oversleeping can be a trigger for headaches. It can cause tension headaches or even migraines. Studies suggest that common neuroanatomic regulatory brain systems, mostly in the hypothalamus, help account for the interplay of sleep and headaches.
Sleep disorders may complicate and exacerbate headaches. So, it is advisable to find your sweet spot – the hours of sleep that feels adequate for you and follow that sleep pattern. When faced with regular headaches, or migraines, seek medical help to understand if oversleeping is causing the issue.2
Oversleeping is a known symptom of atypical depression, a form of depression with specific features like fatigue, weight gain, and sleepiness. Overeating and oversleeping are characteristic symptoms. If you find anyone in your family oversleeping consistently, then perhaps it may be better to get the person clinically examined for depression.3
Studies indicate high levels of anxiety and depression in patients with diabetes with oversleeping being one of the symptoms. It has been proven that lack of sleep or oversleeping can both increase the risk of diabetes. Disrupted sleep is known to cause weight gain, increased insulin resistance and reduced daytime functioning. So, there is an increase in type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders and obesity all at the same time.
One of the most important steps for diabetes management is the correction of sleep-related issues. The remedies suggested include sleeping as much as needed but not oversleeping.4
Many studies have proven the link between lack of sleep and obesity. However, there is also evidence that both short and long sleeping times indicate a higher risk of future body weight and fat gain. Long duration sleepers gained 1.58 kg more than did average-duration sleepers over a 6 year period.5The risk of developing obesity was quoted at 21%.6
Inflammation is one of the causes of sleeping too much. Generally, cortisol helps maintain your immune function and reduce inflammation but not when you oversleep. Excessive cortisol is produced from oversleeping, which is why you have puffy-eyes when you sleep too due to inflammation in the joints and sinuses. Sleeping too much induces your adrenal gland to produce more cortisol thinking that you are exhausted.7
6. Brain Fog
We have all had that feeling on a Saturday, we feel sleepy the entire day even though we have slept for a good amount of time. This is because of sleeping too much beyond the actual required amount of sleep time. It has not been proven as of yet, but oversleeping can lead to brain deterioration.8
7. Fertility Issues
In most women oversleeping has been seen to decrease their reproductive capabilities. This only affects the population of women who have not reached the menopause stage. The logic behind this is, oversleeping disrupts your circadian rhythm, which in turn interferes with your monthly cycle making ovulation and periods irregular. This is the reason why women who oversleep have difficulty getting pregnant.910
If you notice someone sleeping too much, it may be worth exploring it as a medical condition to find a solution. Regular oversleeping in adults for over nine hours is never a good sign of health. It is best to consult a doctor for your hypersomnia.
|↑1||Millman, Richard P. “Excessive sleepiness in adolescents and young adults: causes, consequences, and treatment strategies.” Pediatrics 115, no. 6 (2005): 1774-1786.|
|↑2||Rains, Jeanetta C., and J. Steven Poceta. “Sleep-related headaches.” Neurologic clinics 30, no. 4 (2012): 1285-1298.|
|↑3||Quitkin, Frederic M. “Depression with atypical features: diagnostic validity, prevalence, and treatment.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry 4, no. 3 (2002): 94.|
|↑4||Newell, Elaine. “Diabetes and depression.” Nursing in General Practice.|
|↑5||Chaput, Jean-Philippe, Jean-Pierre Després, Claude Bouchard, and Angelo Tremblay. “The association between sleep duration and weight gain in adults: a 6-year prospective study from the Quebec Family Study.” Sleep 31, no. 4 (2008): 517-523.|
|↑6||Wittert, Gary. “Obesity and sleep.” (2013).|
|↑7||Léger, Damien, François Beck, Jean-Baptiste Richard, Fabien Sauvet, and Brice Faraut. “The risks of sleeping “too much”. Survey of a national representative sample of 24671 adults (INPES health barometer).” PloS one 9, no. 9 (2014): e106950.|
|↑8||Bernier, Denise, Robert Bartha, Sivakumaran Devarajan, Frank P. MacMaster, Matthias H. Schmidt, and Benjamin Rusak. “Effects of overnight sleep restriction on brain chemistry and mood in women with unipolar depression and healthy controls.” Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN 34, no. 5 (2009): 352.|
|↑9||Kloss, Jacqueline D., Michael L. Perlis, Jessica A. Zamzow, Elizabeth J. Culnan, and Clarisa R. Gracia. “Sleep, sleep disturbance, and fertility in women.” Sleep medicine reviews 22 (2015): 78-87.|
|↑10||Hirotsu, Camila, Sergio Tufik, and Monica Levy Andersen. “Sleep apnea as a potential threat to reproduction.” (2014): 1731-1732.|