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Friday, April 12, 2024

Why Do You Sleep So Much? The Surprising Science

Reviewed by Jennifer Martin, PhD

Perhaps you’ve seen the headlines about how oversleeping has been linked to a better danger of illness and dying. For those who’re the sort of one that repeatedly clocks greater than eight hours of slumber, these information tales have in all probability made you marvel, “Why do I sleep a lot? And is it unhealthy for me?”

On this story, sleep consultants enable you to perceive the newest science. You’ll discover out what actually occurs while you oversleep, together with the way it impacts your well being.

(Spoiler: Likelihood is, you don’t have anything to fret about.)

How a lot is an excessive amount of sleep?

On common, most individuals want someplace between seven and 9 hours of sleep every night time. However that’s a mean, not a good-health edict.

“As you begin to transfer out in both route, there are individuals who require barely extra and barely much less sleep,” says Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist, creator of The Sleep Answer and The Rested Youngster, and co-author of Precision Diet’s Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification.

Above (and beneath) common sleepers fall into three predominant classes.

1. Individuals who want fewer than 7 hours of sleep

Known as Pure Quick Sleepers, these genetically-gifted of us don’t want as a lot sleep as the common individual.

Elevated ranges of a hormone known as orexin permits them to really feel spunky and clear-headed with simply 5 to 6 hours of shuteye.

Right here’s an vital caveat, although. Loads of individuals who get lower than seven hours aren’t Pure Quick Sleepers. Relatively, they skimp on sleep for different causes, starting from revenge-bedtime procrastination to parenthood to an “at all times on” work ethic.

For those who’re not genetically a Pure Quick Sleeper, skimping on sleep possible means you’ll both…

▶ really feel like rubbish the following day

▶ gained’t really feel like rubbish the following day—however solely since you’re so used to the consequences of sleep deprivation that you simply’ve not bear in mind what it feels wish to be nicely rested

Along with the above, over time, your danger for coronary heart illness, most cancers, and sort 2 diabetes can go up as nicely.

(Extra about sleep and well being additional down within the story.)

2. Individuals who want greater than 9 hours of sleep

Attributable to their genetic make-up, Pure Lengthy Sleepers normally want 10, 11, or 12 hours in an effort to really feel refreshed. Their genetics additionally trigger them to really feel drained extra shortly than different folks.

Additionally on this longer-sleeping class: youngsters, youngsters, and lots of younger adults, all of whom want extra sleep so their our bodies can proceed to develop, says Jennifer Martin, PhD, Professor of Medication on the College of California, Los Angeles and likewise a co-author Precision Diet’s Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification.

Sure prescription medicines may enhance sleep time, says Dr. Martin.

“Often this impact is reversed when the individual stops the medicine, and in some instances, the sleepiness is diminished as soon as the individual will get used to the medicine,” she says.

3. Individuals who want 13+ hours of sleep

Some folks sleep 14, 17, 24 or extra hours with little or no interruption, and so they nonetheless wake feeling drained.

“For those who discover you might be one in every of these folks, it is perhaps a sign that there’s something unsuitable together with your sleep high quality, not essentially the amount,” Dr. Winter says. For instance, sleep problems like sleep apnea and insomnia can disrupt sleep, inflicting folks to wake feeling unrefreshed.

Quite a lot of well being situations—together with epilepsy, Parkinson’s illness, and melancholy—may result in hypersomnia, which is the lack to remain awake. Narcolepsy, one other hypersomnia situation, causes folks to really feel drained on a regular basis, main them to go to sleep at inappropriate and harmful instances, reminiscent of whereas on a date or driving a car. These problems require medical therapy.

For those who suspect any of the above is true for you, it’s a fantastic factor to say to your physician.

What occurs while you sleep an excessive amount of?

“For the common individual, if they’re sleeping, they in all probability have to be sleeping,” says Dr. Winter.

That’s as a result of our our bodies all have a sleep set level—known as “homeostasis.” Get too little sleep one night time and your physique will reply by craving extra sleep the following. Alternatively, you could have seen: For those who acquire extra sleep than traditional by sleeping in on a weekend, you’ll possible end up awake later that night.

There are, nonetheless, some exceptions. Extra about these beneath.

(Discover out: Would YOU make a great sleep coach?)

Does oversleeping hurt your well being?

Regardless of all the scary headlines, it’s possible that lengthy sleep itself poses little to no well being issues. That’s as a result of, in individuals who sleep greater than most, it’s usually the results of a persistent well being drawback, not the trigger, finds analysis.1,2

Often, the issue is bi-directional, that means the well being drawback disturbs sleep, which worsens the well being drawback, which ends up in worsened sleep, and the cycle continues.

These well being issues embrace:

▶ Sleep problems like sleep apnea (the place respiratory repeatedly stops throughout sleep) and narcolepsy (which is characterised by extreme daytime sleepiness and sleep assaults)

▶ Diabetes

▶ Hypothyroidism

▶ Despair

▶ Persistent fatigue syndrome

▶ Coronary heart illness

For the above situations, it’s vital to notice that oversleeping doesn’t trigger them. Relatively, it’s a symptom of them.

For instance, sleep apnea repeatedly wakes folks, usually for transient moments, throughout the night time, which might result in hypersomnia (extreme sleepiness throughout the day) in addition to a robust want to remain in mattress longer than eight hours or to take a nap throughout the afternoon.

“When medical issues disturb sleep, it takes an individual an extended time frame to be sufficiently recovered,” says Dr. Martin.

For those who repeatedly get greater than 10 hours, and you’re feeling energetic and clear headed throughout the day, that’s nice! Get pleasure from your slumber with out worry. You almost certainly don’t have anything to fret about.

Alternatively, when you spend your days craving a nap—drained, mind fogged, irritated, and resolution fatigued—there could also be an underlying difficulty value exploring together with your physician.

(Study extra: Why people with insomnia swear by CBT-I.)

4 Sleep Habits That Enhance Sleep High quality

For those who’re enthusiastic about sleeping extra restfully, think about forming any of the next sleep habits.

Create a sleep oasis. When your sleep surroundings makes you are feeling secure and comfortable, it’s simpler in your mind to loosen up, permitting you to sleep extra deeply.

Block out gentle. Your circadian rhythm responds to adjustments in gentle. For most individuals, the darker the room, the higher they sleep. For those who can’t get your room as darkish as wanted, think about experimenting with a sleep masks that covers your eyes and blocks out gentle.

Alter the temperature. Along with gentle, your circadian rhythm additionally responds to adjustments in temperature, making you are feeling sleepy as your physique cools down. Taking a sizzling bathtub or bathe earlier than mattress can trick your physique that it’s time to sleep because it’s cooling down. One other tactic: Set your thermostat so it reduces the ambient temperature by a pair levels at night time.

If sizzling flashes are retaining you awake, think about investing in cooling mattress pads or utilizing a fan. (Learn extra: Menopause and sleep).

Contemplate sleeping alone. A loud night breathing partner or lively pet can wake you repeatedly, inflicting you to wish extra sleep to really feel rested.

(Learn extra: How to sleep better.)

Can sleeping an excessive amount of make you drained?

Ever seen that you simply really feel extra drained while you sleep in (say, on the weekends) than you do while you stand up early?

There are two possible causes for this phenomenon.

1. Oversleeping is usually a response to undersleeping

Some folks sleep 10+ hours on the weekends as a result of they’re sleeping six or fewer hours throughout the week.

“One cause folks really feel drained after sleeping so much is that they nonetheless haven’t paid again their sleep money owed from prior nights,” says Dr. Martin. “In case you are very sleep disadvantaged, it takes a number of days to get again on observe and ‘catch up.’”

2. Sleeping in can disrupt sleep-wake signaling.

For those who normally wake at 6 am, sleeping in on the weekends will disrupt your mind’s capacity to launch the neurochemicals wanted for that refreshed, ready-to-slay-the-world feeling.

“It’s actually extra about sleep timing than sleep quantity,” explains Dr. Winter. “The mind’s timing cues are being disrupted.”

Amongst these timing cues:

✅ Overhead and outside gentle that units your mind’s circadian clock

✅ The blaring noise of your alarm clock that triggers the discharge of cortisol and different alertness chemical compounds

✅ Conversations with housemates that nudge you to “get up! assume!”

✅ Caffeine

✅ Breakfast

✅ That feeling of being rushed as you race out the door

If you often oversleep, you deprive your mind of some or all of these cues. Among the wakeup alerts may not happen in any respect. Others, like overhead lighting and caffeine, happen hours later than your mind is used to getting them.

Finish consequence: you are feeling drained.

How are you going to inform when you’re sleeping an excessive amount of?  

Dr. Winter suggests you think about this query:

Throughout the day, when you sit all the way down to learn a e-book or watch a present, do you are feeling a robust urge to nod off?

If the reply is sure, it’s a sign that you simply’re not getting sufficient restorative sleep at night time, which can be an indication of a sleep problem or sleep high quality difficulty, he says.

Alternatively, when you’re clocking loads of bedtime hours and really feel energized throughout the day, 10+ hours might simply be your pure sleep sample.

“In case you are a protracted sleeper and really feel good, don’t fear about it,” says Dr. Martin. “Do your finest to spend the period of time in mattress you want.”


Click on right here to view the knowledge sources referenced on this article.

For those who’re a well being and health professional…

Studying tips on how to assist purchasers handle stress and optimize sleep can massively change your purchasers’ outcomes.

They’ll get “unstuck” and at last transfer ahead—whether or not they need to eat higher, transfer extra, shed pounds, or reclaim their well being.

Plus, it’ll provide the confidence and credibility as a specialised coach who can resolve the largest issues blocking any purchasers’ progress.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will present you ways.

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