Can You Get too Much Sleep?


For people with busy lives, the idea of too much sleep can be difficult to imagine. By the time you deal with your family responsibilities, work, school, and your household chores, it often seems like there are not enough hours left to really get the rest you need. Lack of sleep can certainly be a big issue. Not getting enough sleep can lead to mistakes at work and decreased productivity. And as we all know, not getting enough sleep can just make you cranky!

So if you’re in the too little sleep crowd, you may find it hard to relate to the idea of sleeping too much. Maybe you’re jealous of the carefree twenty-one year old traditional college student who can clock eleven hours of sleep a night, but it turns out that amount of rest is not necessarily a good thing. According to WebMD, oversleeping is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and (uh oh) an increased risk of death.

Healthy adults will typically sleep seven to nine hours per night. Anything over nine hours can be considered too much sleep.

Some health issues can affect sleep, either too much or too little, like sleep apnea which can prevent you from getting enough quality rest at night. Both under and oversleeping can increase your risk for diabetes, so a healthy sleep balance is key. Oversleeping can also be a hint of other health issues like depression, anxiety, or memory problems.

If you are having issues with oversleeping, it may be time for a visit to your doctor. More than likely, she’ll want to discuss your sleep schedule in depth and perhaps even have you do a sleep study. While several factors can contribute to sleep issues, elements of your diet like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar intake can be factors your doctor may want to evaluate. There’s also a chance you have an underlying medical condition which is exacerbating your sleep problems that you’re unaware of that may be caught in tests your doctor will run.

The important thing to keep in mind is how much your quantity and quality of sleep can affect your daily life and your overall health.