Too much sleep may sound like a dream for the lot of you. After a week full of early mornings and hard work, who’d refuse a couple of hours to sleep in?
Staying in bed with a pet, book, or your special other before starting the weekend on a lazy note, ah, what a vision!
But for some of us, it’s more like a nightmare.
Headache, exhaustion, lack of concentration, and depressive thoughts – these are just a few examples of what you’ll find next to your pillow after prolonged sleep.
Of course, not every time.
If you stayed up at night and, upon waking up, realized it’s way past your usual time, chances are, you won’t get affected. Maybe feel groggy for a bit – but that’s it. Nothing worth freaking out.
But if the pattern keeps repeating itself, start paying attention.
Excessive sleepiness is a sign of many disorders, so it’s better to catch up as soon as possible.
For me, it started with depression.
Sleeping too much rather than too little was one of the main symptoms back in the day. It was a usual routine for me to wake up around 9 am, then – 11 am, then – 2 pm, all in one day. I was spending hours and hours in bed before gathering enough motivation to crawl out of it – only to feel so tired from walking around that I had to take a nap.
If you want to know more about depression and how to deal with it, check this post of mine – you’ll find plenty of tips there.
But here I’m going to focus on oversleeping and how you can recover from it. Be that a one-time thing or an ongoing issue, you’ll find everything you need in this post!
However, I’m not a doctor and none of my tips can replace an actual visit to your physician. Any health-related problems should be discussed with a medical professional first.
With that in mind, you can either jump to practical advice through the table down below or stay and find out how exactly too much sleep can affect you.
How Much Is Too Much Sleep
Not every time you stay asleep for a couple more hours counts as oversleeping. If you spend every weekend sleeping in for all the days you didn’t get enough, it’s okay.
Actually, it can be even good for your health! Healthline has a guide for restoring energy on the weekend the right way, you can check it here.
But how much is too much sleep then?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the optimal amount of sleep for young adults (age 18-25) and adults (25-64) is 7 to 9 hours a day. Appropriate for some individuals (based on personal variations) is between 6 and 10 hours a day.
You know better than anyone what works best for you.
I know a person who sleeps 6 hours a day and, except for occasional sleep-in days, feels just fine. But I also know people that prefer to sleep for 10 hours – and have no health problems (at least nothing related to sleep).
Individual preferences may vary, and that’s why you shouldn’t rely on statistics too much. The best way to find out if you slept for too long is to see how you feel in the morning.
Here are just a few common symptoms that will give you a clue:
- Brain fog
- Heavy eyelids
- Noise sensitivity
- Light nausea
Morning is the most energy-fueled part of the day. If you feel tired and unfocused instead, it should ring a bell that something’s wrong.
Also, weirdly, symptoms of oversleeping are often similar to that of undersleeping. Low energy, headache, sensitivity – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s because disrupting your sleep pattern in any way affects your circadian rhythm – and your brain relies on that one. You can read more about the importance of sleep routine in this post but just as a heads-up: your brain has a sleep schedule too.
Reasons for Excessive Sleepiness
First of all – you didn’t have enough sleep the night(s) before. Yes, as simple as that.
A second most popular reason for your brain to refuse to wake up is (as predictable as it is) tiredness. Never forget about the effects of physical exhaustion.
But not only physical – mental overload and stress can drain your body just as much. That’s why it’s so important to have enough sleep and not allow negative thoughts to consume you even on the hardest days.
These are the most common, “safe” reasons for sleeping too much once or twice in a row. Don’t panic or start looking for underlying causes right away. Better check if you didn’t spend the last night binge-watching through Netflix.
But if oversleeping keeps haunting you, along with daytime sleepiness and low energy, it can be a sign of underlying health problems. These are just some examples:
- Mental health issues
- Heart problems
- Sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep)
- Medications (including some types of antidepressants)
- Neurodegenerative conditions
You can read more about the causes of excessive sleepiness in this study.
So, if your sleep schedule keeps messing up with you for a week or longer, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Till then, use my guide to relieve the symptoms!
Have you just got up and your body’s already telling you it’s too late? Throbbing head, heavy limbs, no desire to keep going with the day? Yup, looks like you’ve just got too much sleep.
Here are a few fresh and simple remedies that will make the morning less awful and the rest of the day – easier to handle.
As much as you’d like to stay in bed and get rid of the tiredness with another nap, don’t. It must be obvious, but oversleeping cannot be cured with more rest.
Instead, push yourself up and get to your morning workout! And if you don’t have a regular habit, I strongly recommend you to create one.
Find something that works best for you. Yoga, aerobic, weightlifting, or a simple jog outside in sunny weather will help you clear your head and feel better about the day ahead.
Even a 15-minute walk will boost your circulation and metabolism, providing your brain with more energy and willingness to function. And that’s what we all need, right?
Does the thought alone make you shiver as well?
But a cold shower – especially after a workout – will wake you up in an instant. Any day. Any time. It’s just how it works, and I doubt you don’t believe me.
However, what you may not believe is that it has plenty of health benefits approved by science! Blood circulation, metabolism, mental health, yes, mental health can be improved by regular cold showers, so don’t disregard the idea right away.
But if spending the day like a zombie sounds better than enduring cold water, there’s a softer alternative – contrast shower.
Contrast shower means switching between cold and hot water every 1-2 minutes to a total of 10 (which is the optimal shower time). Your mind, surely, won’t be able to keep up with what’s going on – but your body will gain energy all the same.
Grab Your Caffeine
You won’t see me praising coffee very often. Even though I hold the drink close to my heart, it easily affects my anxiety levels and can, potentially, harm yours.
But this time I can’t avoid it, as even studies prove your usual cup of coffee will give the much-needed energy boost. Add enhanced concentration and a clear head, and you get the remedy that’ll pull you out of a heavy morning.
Still, be aware of the effects caffeine has on your cortisol levels and, accordingly, your mental health.
Anything above 400 mg (~3 cups) daily will do you more harm than good. And remember that pure coffee is not the only source of caffeine – add soda, energy drinks, green tea, dark chocolate, etc. to the equation.
If you want to ease out the impact of morning coffee on your body, avoid drinking it on an empty stomach – better wait until after breakfast.
It may sound absurd, but even after too much sleep at night, you may still crave a nap during the day. Your energy levels are low and your mind has trouble concentrating, so relaxing and letting go may seem like a good idea, right?
No matter how good naps are for boosting your motivation and focus, today you better avoid them altogether. Otherwise, these 20 minutes of sleep will affect your sleep schedule even further.
The best way to avoid daytime sleepiness is to stay active throughout the day. Take a break for a quick workout, go outside for a gulp of fresh air, clean your workplace, or rearrange your email box.
Don’t stick to your chair, and don’t allow your mind to stagnate all day long.
Keep yourself moving – and your mind won’t have a chance to send you back to sleep.
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
If it’s a one-time occurrence, you should be okay by tomorrow. Your brain will fix the sleep pattern and push you awake in time with your inner alarm.
However, to make sure you won’t oversleep again, don’t mess around with your sleep schedule. Don’t stay up for longer just because you woke up later.
Keep up with your daily routine. (And if you don’t have one, here’s a good post to help you out with establishing.)
Allow your brain some time to fall back into your usual schedule – and by the next morning, you’ll already feel better.
But if you find yourself oversleeping night after night and your mind has no intention to fix the problem, it’s time to take action.
Again, the only person that can give you proper advice is a medical expert – but here are a few things to take into account before the appointment. (Or if you don’t have an opportunity to schedule one for now.)
You are what you eat.
Your diet affects every aspect of your wellbeing, including sleep pattern.
High-carb foods, for one, have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of sleep. Sweets, chips, sugary drinks, white bread, and other foods full of refined carbohydrates often leave you drowsy and unfocused.
Similarly, the lack of certain nutrients in your diet, such as calcium, magnesium, and some vitamins, is linked to changes in hormonal pathways and poor quality of sleep.
And let’s not forget about caffeine! Consuming the favorite drug of humanity even six hours before bedtime causes sleep disturbances throughout the night. And speaking of the long-term, a high daily intake of caffeine is related to lower sleep quality and quantity just as much.
If you experience problems with your sleep routine (not only too much sleep – too little or too bad count too), take a look at your typical dinner. If it involves sugary drinks and high-carb food, time to change things up.
Remember that regular workout I mentioned? Make it your daily habit.
Start every day with a set of exercises, and you’ll notice positive changes very soon.
Studies show that regular physical activity has a positive impact on one’s sleep – and no wonder! Everyone knows exercise is good for your health. Keeping your muscles toned and your body – active freshens up your brain on the way.
Even if you’re working at home (like a great deal of us these days), try to avoid “lazy” routines. Take breaks now and then for a stretch, jog, or short walk – and your sleep will get healthier too.
Another thing to pay attention to is when you sleep.
If your job schedule messes up with your natural circadian rhythm, it may harm your sleep quality in the long-term. For example, if you’re an owl and have to wake up early, or forced to work night shifts despite being a morning person.
Try to adjust your sleep pattern to the circadian clock of your body and include more exercise into your daily routine. That will keep your body healthy and happy.
But what about your mind?
Don’t forget, mental health is no less important than physical – regarding your sleep quality too.
As I’ve already mentioned, my problems with oversleeping started with depression. Or, at first, they started with too much stress and anxiety – which, with additional circumstances, grew into full-on clinical depression.
My mind preferred to spend time in the kingdom of dreams rather than face the hopelessness of reality. Fortunately, the problem disappeared as soon as the grip of depression eased out – but I still avoid sleeping in for too long.
But not only depression can lead to sleeping too much (or too little) for a prolonged period of time. Seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD – these are just a few more examples of mental health issues related to sleep efficiency.
Keep an eye on your mental health, you never know where it can lead you.
Maybe the problem is not in your body at all?
Always remember to take a look at the bigger picture. When did you start sleeping too much? What preceded the first morning you spent in bed? Has anything changed in your life recently?
There are plenty of circumstances that could disrupt your usual sleep routine.
Maybe you just switched jobs, and your body can’t adapt to the new schedule. Or maybe you switched countries, for short or for long, and your circadian clock struggles to catch up with the local one.
And never forget that prolonged stress and anxiety can literally ruin your brain.
If you’ve been restless and stressed out for days or even weeks, it inevitably drained your energy resources. Neither your brain nor your body can stay strong under so much pressure.
Pay attention to your health, your habits, your routine, and your life situation – whatever caused your sleep issues lies somewhere among them.
Take care of your sleep habits – and get a good night’s sleep in return.
And that’s it for today! Hope this article was helpful, and if it was – let me know in the comments. Maybe you have some tips I left out?