Although sleep is a biological necessity thanks to which our body and mind recover and function properly, do you know that sleeping too much can be a sleep disorder, a symptom of illness or the origin of different health problems?

When we refer to sleep disorders, we directly think of insomnia or apnea. However, hypersomnia is a disorder that causes the person suffering from it to need to sleep more hours than recommended for her body to recover from daily fatigue.

If you are one of those who sleep long at night and still feel sleepy during the day, I want to tell you what the possible causes are and how sleeping a lot can affect your health.

How many hours do you have to sleep?

Although sleep needs vary throughout life and from one person to another. In general, the amount of sleep we need depends on different factors, including:

  • Age
  • activity level
  • health habits
  • Lifestyle

Studies conducted jointly by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society agree on recommending between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per day for healthy adults who do not suffer from any sleep disorder.

The alteration, whether in fewer or more hours, affects the vital role that sleep plays in humans.

Baby_sleep without pillow_originalBut, in the same way as the quantity, the quality of sleep is another factor of great importance, since even sleeping the recommended time, sleep may not be sufficiently restorative or may be fragmented. In this case, improving sleep hygiene can lead to an increase in both the quantity and quality of sleep.

So that you can have a clearer idea of ​​sleep patterns, we detail how many hours each age group should sleep:

  • Newborn (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Babies (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Young children (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teenager (14-17 years old): 8-10 hours
  • Young adult (18-25 years): 7-9 hours
  • Adult (26-64 years): 7-9 hours
  • Older Adult (65 years or older): 7-8 hours

Is too much sleep bad for our health?

sleep a lot irritated_originalSleep is a basic need, so it is very common to think that sleeping in excess can be beneficial and directly reverts to a better rest. But, sleeping more than normal (8 or 9 hours a day) can be as harmful as sleeping too few hours.

According to some studies, there is an association between the usual duration of sleep, whether it is shorter or longer than usual, with adverse health outcomes:

Affects mood. In fact, disorders such as depression are related to sleep disorders.
  Increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  Increases the risk of developing type II diabetes.
  Since there is less time to perform physical activities and less control over meal times, it facilitates the possibility of obesity.
  It ages the brain and contributes to cognitive decline.
  Affects concentration.
  Higher mortality rate.

Why do I sleep so much and still sleepy?

Sleeping a lot at specific times does not have to be harmful. For example, during the period of an illness, it is normal to feel an increased need for sleep. The problem arises when the habit of sleeping for many hours at night and during the day becomes a routine that lasts over time.

Below we tell you what are the possible causes that generate a great need to sleep.

Hypersomnia

We have already made reference to hypersomnia, a disorder that makes the person who suffers from it feel tired and disoriented after having slept for a long period of time. Your symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Concern
  • loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • social maladjustment

Obstructive sleep apnea

It is a disorder that interrupts the natural sleep cycle, so it can also cause an increased need for sleep.

Consumption of alcohol, drugs or medication

sleep a lot alcohol_originalSleeping too much can also be caused by the use of alcohol or chemicals such as drugs. Some cancer treatment drugs or immunosuppressants have a side effect of increased sleepiness.

medical conditions

Some medical conditions such as depression and dementia, thyroid problems, kidney and liver diseases are also associated with the need for excessive sleep.

When to go to the doctor

You do not need to worry if your need to sleep too much is occasional, since it does not have to be indicative of the existence of a health problem.

On the other hand, if your sleep pattern is long and you still need to sleep during the day, your body may be showing a symptom of something that requires medical attention.

Remember: This article is merely informative, but if you suspect that you suffer from any of the alterations described above, you should go to your doctor for a study and to provide you with a specific treatment to solve your problem.

Tips to improve sleep quality

It is not enough to sleep the recommended hours, you have to sleep well so that sleep is totally restful.

Getting a good quality of sleep is not a difficult mission, you just have to acquire new habits in your daily routine. The following recommendations can be of great help:

Daily physical activity: Exercising every day, especially in the morning or before dinner, favors the onset of night sleep. If you want to do before going to sleep, the best thing to do is something gentle like stretching.

Respect schedules: Try to get up and go to bed at the same time every day because this keeps our body’s natural circadian rhythms balanced.

The bed only for sleeping: Avoid as much as possible the use of mobile devices or watching television in bed, since the light that these devices emit interfere with sleep.

Quality rest equipment: A good mattress and pillow will be very useful to achieve quality sleep, since it depends on these elements that your body acquires the correct posture to rest correctly. Similarly, bedding should provide the comfort your body needs, especially if you sleep naked.

Meditate: Calming your mind and controlling your breathing will make it easier for you to rest by being more relaxed, so you can meditate for a few minutes a day. It will also help you to use techniques that relax you, such as ASMR.

Light dinner: Try to have dinner at least an hour before going to bed, avoiding large meals and stimulating drinks.

Naps: Although naps are good, so that they do not affect the quality of your night’s sleep, they should not exceed 20 or 30 minutes.

Conclusions

If you find yourself in a situation in which you sleep more than is recommended, in principle you should not worry, it may be something specific that has a solution if the problem that originates it is eradicated. Otherwise, it is recommended that you go to a health professional to assess your sleep disorder.

But you must be very clear that not only does the amount of sleep matter, but its quality is just as important. Acquiring healthy lifestyle habits and a daily routine to improve sleep quality may be more than enough for you to get adequate rest.