Getting enough sleep at night is important, but just as getting too little sleep can be detrimental to your health, so can getting too much sleep. If you've found that you're sleeping beyond what is considered normal hours, or you find that you're always tired, you may have a health issue that is causing you to sleep too much. Oversleeping is a sign of disordered sleep, and it can be triggered by a wide variety of problems, which should not go ignored.
"Getting too much sleep can have an impact on your health, lead to depression, and ironically make you feel even more tired," Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert Dr. Sujay Kansagra, tells Bustle. "For adults, the average amount of sleep needed is seven to nine hours, although everyone has different needs based on genetics. Generally speaking, sleeping longer than nine hours is considered sleeping too long."
Since it's impossible to diagnose yourself, it's best to see a doctor if you tend to sleep oversleep, as they can find the root of your sleep issues (especially if you haven't noticed any other symptoms). If you do find you sleep too much, here are seven health issues that might be the root of your problem, according to experts.
Someone with narcolepsy can feel so tired, it often results in an incontrollable urge to sleep, even during the day. "Narcolepsy is a neurologic disorder in which there is instability in the mechanisms that regulate REM sleep (or deep sleep)," Dr. Kansagra says. "It is thought to be due to a deficiency in a neurotransmitter called orexin (or hypocretin). With less of this neurotransmitter, the brain is not able to regulate REM sleep, so it's starts intruding where it shouldn't, often causing severe sleepiness and immediate fatigue."
If you're someone who is always fatigued, you might be anemic. Anemia occurs when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells, which results in a lack of oxygen being carried throughout your body. It can also be caused by an iron deficiency. It often results in oversleeping, as it can make people feel very tired. In fact, it is the leading cause of fatigue in women, according to WebMD,
People with depression and other mental health issues may also sleep more than what is considered common. "A depression nap is not a medical term, but it is one that has been popularized on social media," Dr. Kansagra says. "It refers to the use of a nap to escape unwanted feelings, such as feeling sad or upset. Although napping is good for your health and can improve sleep deprivation, it should not be used to avoid feelings or problems. It is important to speak with a mental health professional about ways to improve both your mood and your sleep."
Issues with your thyroid, such as hypothyroidism, may also be to blame when it comes to sleeping too much. An under-active thyroid can not only result in fatigue, but poorer quality sleep, according to The Mayo Clinic. If you're not feeling rested, this could lead to sleeping more hours to satisfy that tired feeling.
5. Weak Immune System
If your immune system is poor, it might also cause you to sleep more than usual. "When you’re sick, your body needs energy and proper sleep to help you recover," Dr. Kansagra says. "Often times, being sick can lead to feeling weak and tired. If this is the case, it is extremely important not to skimp on sleep as it is vital for proper immune function. Believe it or not, a good night’s rest can help you fight off sickness and keep your immune system sharp."
Those with diabetes often experience sleep disturbances, which can include both difficulty sleeping and sleeping too much, according to research in the Journal of Sleep Research. High blood sugar can cause fatigue in people with diabetes, which could lead to an increased desire for sleep.
7. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes interrupted breathing during sleep due to airways becoming partially or completed blocked. This occurs repeatedly throughout the night, which can diminish sleep quality, and leave you feeling unrested, according to The Sleep Doctor. This could cause someone to sleep for longer than usual, in an attempt to make up for this poor quality sleep.
If you sleep too much and you think it could be a sign of a greater health issue, go see your doctor, who can help give you the proper diagnosis.