Fitness Tips

Sleeping Too Much: Yeah, It’s a Real Thing

September 12, 2015

I love my sleep.

I’ll take a solid 9 hours of beauty rest over most night-time events. Yeah, I’m that person.

And while some of you might be gasping and wishing for the ability to hit the sack before 2am, let me tell you: sleeping too much is a very real thing.

Before you laugh, think about this: when you wake up at 8am and start your day, don’t you feel a little bit more productive and generally better than when you sleep in until noon?

sleeping-too-much

Oversleeping can make you feel groggy, unproductive and can generally confuse your body. Some studies have shown that people who sleep for more than 8 hours sometimes die sooner that those who get between 6 and 8 hours (so I’m screwed…). And while I’m not suggesting you stay up until the wee hours of the morning to extend your life, there are definitely some good reasons why not to over-commit to your bed:

+ One longggggg stretch of sleep isn’t natural.

There’s evidence that until the 17th century, people didn’t sleep through the night but spent their time asleep in two parts. Also, being dead to the world for 10 hours at a time is a little weird if you think about it. Even if you feel like 7 or 8 hours of sleep isn’t enough for you, rather than staying in bed for 10 hours a night, try taking an afternoon nap instead.

+ Hypersomnia (over sleeping) has been shown to lead to anxiety, depression and being even more tired.

Brains and sleep are really complicated things whose relationship isn’t fully understood yet. But so many studies show (and even I can say from experience) that sleeping too much doesn’t give you twice as much energy; it actually causes you to be more drowsy throughout the whollllle day. This could have to do with certain neurotransmitters in the brain being over-worked.

+ Over-sleeping can make you fat.

Okay, that statement might be a bit of an exaggeration but studies have shown that sleeping too much can be just as detrimental to weight loss as under-sleeping. This is probably because you’re physically active for less time. This also might be why back pain caused by sleeping too much is a thing.

All this being said though, if you have a lazy Sunday morning or are catching up on sleep, you should be just fine.

Think you’re sleeping too much? Good news: it’s pretty easy to overcome.

Assuming you’re not sleeping too much because of medication or alcohol, getting less sleep (and in turn, not feeling paradoxically shitty during the day) is simple:

+ set an alarm (figure out when you should get up for a nice 8 hours)
+ plan a busy day (if you have something active to do during the day, you’ll be less motivated to sleep)
+ exercise (its proven that more exercise during the day leads to deeper sleep, no matter how long)
+ make it routine (it’ll be hard at first but once less sleep becomes routine, you should be good to go)

So the next time you go for 12 hours of sleep just because you can, try limiting your sleep a bit instead. I bet you’ll feel better in the morning.

Have you ever noticed the effects of over-sleeping?

** image from here

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