Most of us think of sleep as a natural ‘happening’. The same is why 95% of us have no strict duration or time of sleep and the same changes every day as well. Depending on the opportunity to work overtime, finish extra projects and circumvent newer functions, sleep is the first scapegoat that each of us chooses.
The biggest demerit to taking sleep for granted is the lack of knowledge about it. Majority believes that the biggest venom due to sleep changes happens due to lack of sleep. Hence, most of us suggest our loved ones sleep more, than less, ever!
To a limit, the vernacular knowledge is not totally wrong. It is true that deep sleep happens only if your sleep more as the stage of REM sleep or Stage IV regulates the repairs and restoration of our body. So, if you sleep more, does this mean that, the restorative processes will be better and you will be 110% healthy?
The truth be told, if you sleep more, you might die earlier!
What is the right dose of sleep for an adult?
We are not talking about sleeping until 11am on a Saturday or Sunday but a daily dose of 12-14 hours of sleep. According to science, 2% of our populous oversleeps and has the same history since their childhood. Known as hypersomnia, any sleep duration more than 15 hours on a recurrent basis is termed as oversleeping. Understanding sleep is not easy. Over the years of our lifetime, the total amount of sleep necessary for the person varies. This is dependent on the health, age and genetic makeup of a person. To elaborate that, when you fall sick, often sleepiness worsens and leads to oversleeping.
While the best advised sleep for adults aged 18 to 64 is 7 to nine hours, anything over 13 hours for too long is considered toxic.
Until two centuries ago, sleep was believed to be a state of no activity or a wasteful time. Today, the research and advancements in the field of sleep and its effects has shed light on how inevitable slumber is to one’s health. Nevertheless, a large majority still does not know anything about sleep and misinterprets it largely.
Do you oversleep?
Considered a medical ailment for people with hypersomnia, oversleeping is not always a somnipathy. Recent research advocates that for people with strict sleep routines, when they suddenly begin sleeping more, it is an indicator of an underlying serious disorder. If you have observed the same in your case, it is better to approach a sleep specialist and determine the cause of your oversleep than neglect it and continue to sleep erratically more.
Unlike most sleeping disorders, research shows that oversleeping is directly linked to dying early. As sleep has a vital role in regulating the bodily activities, cognition and maintaining brain health, most of us think that more the sleep, better the health. However, sleep is also responsible for the mental stability of a person. The same is why, mental distress is a cause and effect of oversleeping. Statistics highlight about 15% with depression tending to oversleep. People with this tendency also suffer from drowsiness and fatigue throughout their daily activities. Although substance abuse might lead to oversleeping, the cause is obvious in such cases. For example, alcoholics pass-out due to consumption of too much alcohol, or stoners tend to feel drowsy due to the effect of cannabis itself.
Just like the lack of sleep, too much sleep affects the circadian rhythm of our body in adverse ways. Circadian rhythm determines the body’s awareness to time. This is a biological clock that works being dependent on sunlight and other factors that help to realize the time that our body follows. When a disparity happens, our body feels akin to being under jet lag or utterly confused with the happenings around it.
How does oversleeping affect a healthy body?
The shocking side of oversleeping is when it is neglected for a long time. While most people think of oversleepers are lazy folks, the truth is far-far from this silly notion!
Some notable causes and effects of oversleeping are
- Sleep Apnea
Commonly known as obstructive sleep apnea, oversleeping is not the cause, but an effect of people with sleep apnea. Patients suffering from sleep apnea tend to wake up mid-sleep owing to disruption of breath due to sleep apnea. Often, waking up in the middle of the night tends to kill the sleep. This results in the person waiting on the bed for sleep and hence, losing continuity of sleep and hence, sleeping more.
The commonly felt increased need of sleep becomes a serious culprit when the neglected sleep apnea leads to regular and toxic oversleeping.
Often noted as the effect of oversleeping, anxiety disorder also can also lead to hypersomnia. Patients with too much anxiety tend to worry more, get fatigued and stress in the due course. For some people, stress takes a heavy toll resulting in exertion. Leading to fatigue at times, anxious people feel tired almost always and hence, also craving perpetually for sleep. When the fluctuating serotonin happens in hypersomnia, headaches are born, further worsening your anxiety!
Known to have a lethal effect on the sugar level and secretion of the body, people with hypersomnia were inferred to have a higher chance of developing diabetes. The logic behind the theory is that people who sleep more than necessary also tend to have a higher rate of glucose production. Hence, more than 9 hours of sleep per day can definitely make you diabetes-prone!
Notoriously termed sleep drunkenness, depression is a direct cause and effect of oversleeping. While depression as such can disturb the sleep cycle and impact increased fatigue and an urge for more sleep, vice-versa is also the other side of truth about hypersomnia. If you sleep more and develop such a lifestyle, the stress of oversleeping can lead to a vicious sleep cycle disorder as well.
Technically referred to as confusional arousal, waking up from a long (too much) sleep tends to make the patient groggy, disoriented, angry, low or even sad. According to statistics, about 15% of all clinically depressed patients develop hypersomnia while the rest tend to suffer from insomnia.
A direct consequence of hypersomnia, gaining weight is common if you’re an oversleeper! A recent somnipathy research highlighted that 21% of oversleepers were prone to obesity . If you think that this does not include you, because you’re a fitness maniac, then the recent 6 year long study will prove you wring. After monitoring the sleep cycle of varied patients over a span of half a dozen years, it was concluded that appetite and exercise were independent of obesity and patients of hypersomnia will develop obesity sooner or later!
The irritable and disoriented feeling is a natural side effect of hypersomnia as studies denote that anger management is relatively difficult when you’re an oversleeper. Usually, the sudden waking up from sleep leads to rousing disorientation, which can even aggravate as physical pain. Added with the depression and other bodily adversities due to the improper sleep cycle, anger is a commonly observed effect of hypersomnia.
Furthermore, angry mood makes a person exert more energy. When a person is angry, the number of self-talks increase from the normal 500 thoughts per minute to double, triple or tenfold!
- Back Pain
Often, back pain is a direct effect of your wrong sleeping posture. The same is why most doctors tend to check with the sleeping duration of the patients when back pain is diagnosed. It is necessary to keep a consistent rate of metabolism, active in your body and when you fail to do so, your spinal cord is affected first. Yet another culprit behind improper sleep cycle, unlike giving sleep as a medicine for a backache, today you must avoid sleeping too much if you’re suffering from back pain!
- Heart Disorders
Another serious cause and effect of oversleeping is a stroke or other heart disorders. Science vouches based on practical experiments that up to 10% people suffer from coronary heart disease that leads to cardiac arrests in some, provides they sleep more than 10 hours on a recurrent basis.
The terrors of oversleeping do not stop there, folks!
In fact, the last and the most malignant effect of oversleeping is the lack of waking up or death itself. With multiple research showcasing evidence that hypersomnia leads to a significant increase in the mortality rate, oversleeping is certainly not a chat-over-tea-debate!
How to Prevent Oversleeping?
It is seldom possible to appropriately distinguish whether you actually suffer from oversleeping or the routine fatigue. If you’re worried about hypersomnia being a serious hindrance to your comfort, health and convenience the best way to diagnose the disorder with 100% assurance is by consulting a sleep specialist. Depending on your personal interview, the specialist might refer you to a polysomnogram exam or manual monitoring.
Provided that you are an oversleeper, what next? Do you have to stay awake or sleep the least for the rest of your life?
Contrary to the statistics, oversleeping is a 100% resolvable issue, regardless of how habituated you are, towards this disorder.
The first step to treating this can-be-serious somnipathy is determining how deep you’re in it.
Next, calculate how long you need to sleep. According to the past centuries of human history, sleep was not a one-stretch routine. Rather, they slept at two natural sleep calls (2 AM and 2 PM) and even practiced prayers and sexual appetite by waking up in-between. You must recognize the appropriate sleep cycle favorable to your body. You can easily do this by recording the time when your brain tells you to sleep. It is true that various daily aspects can influence the timings, but when you record everyday drowsiness-signals for a month, an average or mean can be easily calculated!
The most important step to treating and rectify your hypersomnia is to begin a disciplined sleep cycle. Start by waking up and sleeping at a specific time every day, inclusive of the weekends, holidays and other failable days as well. Commit to the sleep discipline and correct your circadian rhythm first. Simultaneously, record your observations about disappearance or appearance of the common symptoms oversleeping over your rectification schedule as well.
While the above can help to treat your sleep cycle as well as the somnipathies thoroughly, certain additional hacks to preventing hypersomnia can be beneficial for a quick recovery as well as prevention of the same.
- If you find the snooze button before waking up 100%, it is time to avoid cell phone alarms and buy yourself the traditional Alarm Clock. To seal your discipline week, buy two alarms, set it the same time, and keep it farther than your armlength, but within earshot.
- Sleeping before midnight sets in the ancient sleep routines of our ancestors and guarantees a deep sleep without fatigue in the morning. In addition, proper sleep is healing and can restore your bodily damages including curing your depression, anger or anxiety.
- Sleep by meditating on a thought you will perform the next day. Paint it deeper by imagining more and adding distinct colors to it.
- Consuming your breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up ensures that your body receives the energy it needs, and the warming-up exercise of metabolism as well!
Finally, it is important to recognize the source of your hypersomnia, before gearing up to kill it. If you recognize the source of stress, fatigue or sleep cycle problems earlier, you can postpone your death a few years after as well!
In addition, avoiding alcohol as well as too much caffeine or anti-depressant medicines including nicotine can help you stabilize your sleep cycle effectively. Some interesting ways to set your bedroom into an accommodating sleeping space than a bustling alpha wave hub is by clicking here. You will be taken to our in-depth article on smartly and scientifically decorating your bedroom for a blissful sleep and sleep alone!