The Side Effects of Oversleeping: Is Too Much Sleep Harmful?

year ago

If you’ve noticed that you need more then 9 hours of sleep to feel rested, it can be a sign that you are suffering from a health issue. Especially if you’ve been falling asleep in unpredictable places and at unpredictable times. That is why it is essential to look a little deeper into the cause of your oversleeping issue. In most cases, oversleeping is overlooked, as most think that it is due to long work hours. But not paying attention to this can lead to you ignoring the true problem which can have some bad side effects.

Bright Side has information for you about the cause of oversleeping and feeling too tired, even after 12 hours of sleep. And remember, it is not about being a “good sleeper.”

Disclaimer: Please remember that this article is for informational purposes only. In order to get professional advice and a diagnosis, please see your doctor.

You might be suffering from hypersomnia.

The opposite of insomnia, hypersomnia, is a condition known for increased sleep duration during the night or day. In fact, suffering from this condition can also mean you experience daytime sleepiness. In this case, you might be able to fall asleep when you are driving or are at work. Even when sleeping more than the recommended amount, you will most likely feel tired and exhausted.

Some symptoms of hypersomnia include feeling sleepy and tired during the day, finding it hard to wake up in the morning, and having a feeling that taking naps during the day doesn’t help at all. This can all lead to anxiety, restlessness, not thinking properly (slower thinking), headaches, and not having an appetite.

This condition affects about 2% of people around the world. If you often find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, or not even remembering when you woke up during the night, you might suffer from this condition. According to Healthline, it usually begins in your childhood. However, if you have never felt as tired as you are in adulthood, it is advisable to contact your doctor to see what may be causing this condition and get your health back on track.

Before you visit your doctor, it is recommended to do some of your own check-ups to be prepared for the appointment. You can keep track of your sleep patterns in a diary — when you fall asleep, when you wake up, etc. This way, it will be easier for your doctor to get the specific details they need.

You might be depressed.

While some adults experience insomnia as a sign of depression there are a percentage of adults, as well as children and teens, who experience oversleeping due to this condition. If you are neglecting or unaware of the fact that you are suffering from depression, oversleeping can be a sign that you shouldn’t ignore.

Depression is a serious matter, and oversleeping can be one indicator. It can usually happens during your teenage years, while older people experience more insomnia. However, when older people experience constant oversleeping, it may be that they are depressed and they may need to be treated medically. Not only that, but it’s mostly women who sleep more and feel very tired during the day when they’re depressed. It’s important to seek out for medical treatment, like taking antidepressants, to treat this condition.

Your heart might be the cause.

One of the signs that you might be suffering from a heart-related disease can be oversleeping. This also includes daytime sleepiness. While you might be feeling tired and exhausted, it might not be because you have worked a lot. That is why it is not easy to differentiate whether your problem with sleeping more than 9 hours in a 24-hour cycle can be related to heart issues.

You should consider checking your thyroid.

There are 2 types of thyroid issues that affect sleep. While one of them causes insomnia, the other causes oversleeping or the feeling of being tired all the time. For instance, hypothyroidism is related to sleeping more than 8+ hours a day and can cause daytime fatigue and sleep. If you don’t suffer from any other health problems but you are sleeping more than the recommended hours, it is wise to check your thyroid.

Our thyroids make hormones, and if they make too many of them, then this can make you wake up many times throughout the night, be irritated, and sweat during the night. However, if your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones or makes too few of them, then this can cause disruptions in your sleep, like feeling too cold or feeling pain in your muscles. Not only that, but it can also cause too much sleeping during the daytime, where a person can barely stay awake.

It’s advisable to medically take care of this issue by taking a blood test so your doctor can figure out if you have any thyroid issues. If you end up having this problem, there are a couple of things you can do to get rid of your sleepiness and create a healthier lifestyle. You can find a comfortable sleeping temperature, set up your ideal bedtime routine with music (or even take a bath before you go to bed), and cut down your intake of caffeine and substances.

You might be sleeping more during a specific season.

This is a disorder also known as SAD. Different seasons have a different impact on those who struggle with this health issue. Oversleeping falls under the winter-onset of SAD, which is also known as winter depression.

This type of depression starts and finishes around the same time each year. People usually begin to feel symptoms around the fall, which last throughout the winter — causing you to feel irritable and moody. But when spring and summertime come around, these symptoms tend to decrease.

There are many symptoms that cause this, and it’s not just excessive sleepiness. You can find yourself feeling hopeless, having a hard time concentrating, having low energy, and losing interest in your usual favorite activities. Medications can treat this, but you can also change your mindset. It’s advisable to take steps to keep your mood and motivation static over the year.

You are sleeping less than 6 hours per night.

Yes, not getting the right amount of sleep can cause serious oversleeping problems. Whether by choice or due to other factors, a lack of sleep can make you sleep more than usual. Your sleeping period should be calm, relaxing, and undisturbed. If not, you might end up sleeping more hours during the day, including taking daytime naps.

Sometimes people will oversleep when they have to work a night shift, when they don’t get enough physical exercise, or even when using too much medication. There is a disorder called restless leg syndrome, which is when you move your legs around a lot and can’t stop moving them around. This can also lead to sleep interruptions, and feeling very tired when you wake up.

Your sleep might be disturbed by obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when there is a blockage in the air pathways. The upper airways end up collapsing for 10 seconds and this can happen hundreds of times a night. Due to this, our sleep gets disturbed multiple times per night and we need more hours of sleep to feel rested. When we don’t get those hours of sleep, daytime sleepiness occurs. If you are able to fall asleep everywhere and at any time, this may be confused as being a “good sleeper.”

Sleep apnea mostly occurs in children and also adults. You might be unaware that you have this condition unless the person you sleep next to tells you that you snore too much. Here, your breathing gets interrupted, which means you get less sleep and end up feeling very tired and exhausted for school or work. It can also lead to danger as you may fall asleep on the road.

How many hours do you sleep a day? Have you noticed any health conditions that might be the reason for your oversleeping?

Please note: This article was updated in August 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


Get notifications

When you need to study or work, you don't even know how much you sleep anymore. Alarm will always get you up ?


I can sleep well over 12 hours and still want to go back to bed. Recently got diagnosed with hypothyroidism, but I think the doctors have been misdiagnosing me for 20 years, Definitely be pushy about thyroid testing if you think you need it.


Related Reads