Many people consider feeling tired all the time a natural consequence of “adulting.” It often sets in around the age of sixteen or seventeen, which is when many teenagers start driving, working, and participating in extracurricular activities that may help them get into a good college or otherwise start their adult lives off successfully. It continues up to retirement for many people.
People assume that exhaustion just goes with a life well-lived, but it may also come as a result of sleeping too much. Let’s take a closer look at the tendency to oversleep because it can have just as heavy an impact on your quality of life as sleep deprivation.
Healthy Sleep vs. Oversleeping – Where Is the Line?
Through research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that young adults and adults should receive between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Most people now agree that the exact amount of sleep that any person needs can vary, depending on a variety of factors. It’s still safe to assume that sleeping more than 10 hours per night is considered oversleeping for an adult. This may seem shocking to busy adults who struggle to get five or six hours of sleep consistently, but there are just as many people who have the opposite problem.
You may also determine whether you’re sleeping too much based on how you feel when you wake up. Oversleeping often leaves you feeling groggy rather than alert and energized. There are some medical conditions, such as sleep apnea and depression, that may lead to the same feeling, so it’s important to determine the oversleep causes that are relevant to your sleeping pattern.
What Can Cause Oversleeping?
For some people, oversleeping is a legitimate sleep disorder known as hypersomnia. The most prominent symptom of this disorder is feeling tired all the time, regardless of how much sleep you work into your schedule.
Note that this is different from the groggy feeling that you may experience after going without adequate sleep for awhile and then trying to catch up with a long day of napping. Hypersomnia also occurs without any underlying medial issues, so it’s not just a symptom of something more serious. The treatment is often medication, but many sufferers find that their need to oversleep interferes with their quality of life.
There are also some emotional and mood disorders that can lead to sleeping too much. If you find that you’re losing enthusiasm for activities that normally grab your interest or that you lack motivation and ambition to tackle life with force and you’re routinely oversleeping, depression is a potential cause. The tendency to oversleep on a regular basis may also come from the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol and some other lifestyle choices.
The Impact of Sleeping Too Much
If you’ve ever lived in a state of sleep deprivation, you may believe that “more is better” when it comes to sleep. Unfortunately, research has shown that routinely sleeping can put you at greater risk for many medical conditions, including:
- Headaches or migraines
- Heart disease
- Back pain
It’s also possible that some of these conditions could lead you to stay in bed longer, serving as a potential cause of oversleeping.
What to Do If Oversleeping Becomes a Problem
If your tendency to oversleep is interfering with your daily life, start by visiting your doctor to rule out any medical causes. You may also want to honestly assess whether your oversleeping is caused by depression or lifestyle choices. For instance, you may realize that you feel tired all the time because you’re drinking too much or you spend too much time focusing on financial problems and other sources of stress that make you want to avoid rather than confront problems.
You can also control your sleeping patterns by sticking to a routine sleeping schedule that allows you to get no more than nine or 10 hours of sleep each night. This means getting up at the same time even on weekends. Spending time outdoors and opening your windows to let in the sunlight may help you stay alert during the day if you tend to feel tired all the time. Most important, don't allow yourself to feel guilty for wanting to sleep more than usual. You can still enjoy a life well lived if you pay attention to your sleep patterns.