Causes, Effects and Treatment for Oversleeping

causes, effects and treatment for depression

Is Oversleeping A Problem?

Are you an adult and sleeping more than 10 hours a day? If your answer is yes, you may be suffering from oversleeping disorder!

Sleep is essential for our health and lack of it can cause obesity, mental health issues and productivity. Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but sleep specialists advice we need to get about 6 to 9 hours sleep per night. But there are some among us who tend to oversleep, sleeping for more than 10 hours a day. The pertinent questions for those worried about oversleeping issues are:

  • What are the consequences of the oversleeping?
  • Is it bad for our health?
  • Should  we be concerned if we are oversleeping?

We will try to address these questions in this post.

Causes of Oversleeping

There are a few medical issues which can cause oversleeping. One is hypersomnia. Hypersomniacs suffer from sleepiness throughout the day and the problem is not resolved by taking a nap. Neither is their problem resolved by sleeping for over long hours at night. Many hypersomniacs also experience anxiety, lack of energy and memory problems as a side effect of their regular need for sleep.

Another medical issue that can result in oversleeping is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a condition in which throat muscles collapse during sleep and cause breathing blockage. To restore breath, our brain wakes up subconsciously and does this something like once or twice every minute. Due to this disturbed sleep, suffers of sleep apnea feel sleepy and tired throughout the day.

Depression is one mental health disorder that may lead sufferers to oversleep.

Certain medications and intoxicant substances like alcohol can also lead to oversleeping.

Effects of Oversleeping

Effects of oversleeping can be classified into:

  1. Medical issues
  2. Impacts on Career
  3. Impacts on Relationships

Medical effects of oversleeping

Many medical problems can arise from oversleeping. Some of them are listed here.

Diabetes

Research is indicating that oversleeping or paucity of sleep can increase the risk of diabetes.

Obesity

A consistent restful sleep of 7-9 hours a day stabilizes metabolism and reduces untimely hunger pangs. A recent study found that people who sleep between 9 to 10 hours a day were likely to have 21% more chance of being obese over six years than people who slept between 7 to eight hours a day. The link between sleep and obesity persisted even when the researchers controlled for the effects of calorie intake and exercise in the subjects.

Headaches

Oversleeping can effect neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, in the brain. Disruption of neurotransmitter levels in the blood can lead to headaches. Also people who sleep longer during the day to spoil their night sleep duration could suffer from headaches when they wake up in the morning.

Back pain

Excessive sleep can also lead to backaches, due to more pressure on the back muscles from lying down in the same posture over longer duration.

Depression

Over 15% people with depression sleep too much. Oversleeping can make their depression worse as disciplined sleeping habits aid recovery.

Heart Disease

Although scientific connection between oversleeping and heart disease is yet to be established a study on sleeping habits of 72,000 women showed that controlling for other factors, those who slept 9 to 11 hours per night had 38% higher likelihood of developing a heart disease than women who slept 8 hours.

Mortality Rate

A number of studies have red flagged that oversleeping for 9 or more hours a night can lead to higher mortality rates than people sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night. Although specific causes are unknown, but it is posited that depression and poor socioeconomic standing can be related to longer sleeping hours. So indirectly these factors could be causing the increased mortality in people who sleep longer duration.

Impacts on Career

Oversleeping and excessive need for sleep all through the day can lead to bad effects on career as suffers tend to report late to office, feel sleepy during work hours and are not as alert during meetings as others.

Their medical issues may be seen as lack of motivation or disinterest in the job and also have motivational impacts on the staff reporting to them.

HR need to alert to sensitivities of medical issues and need to take up these issues with the concerned employees in earnest and provide support as needed to prevent the fallout.

Impacts on Relationships

Oversleeping can have significant impacts on relationships. Sufferers feeling of tiredness at all times leads to low libido and lack of interest in family matters. A lack of understanding partner or parents can further aggravate these issues.

Treatment Options

For Problems Caused by Medical Disorders

To rule out any medical conditions, you need to approach your GP and discuss your problems. GPs will screen you for possible psychological causes or other health issues and may advise you to consult with sleep doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists

If depression is the root cause of your oversleeping issues, seeking treatment for it from a psychologist and psychiatrist may be the best course of action. Psychologists use a number of therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for treatment of depression.

If obstructive sleep apnea is could be the cause of your oversleeping, you would be advised to undergo a sleep study in a hospital or special clinics for the purpose. Based on the outcome of the study, you may be advised to use CPAP machines, undergo surgery or be prescribed medications.

If oversleeping is because of medications, GP or your specialist may be able to prescribe an alternate medication to alleviate these effects.

For Problems Due to Poor Sleep Hygiene

Establishing a disciplined and good sleep hygiene is the key to solve this issue. It is essential that your  sleep time and waking up time are considered as sacrosanct and not tinkered with.

Certain substances such as caffeine, alcohol disturb sleep and are best avoided a few hours before sleep. Regular exercise regimen and keeping gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets away from you when going sleep are some other disciplines you can build in your life to improve your sleep.

Another factor that can lead to poor sleep is poor bed quality. Don’t keep your bed cluttered and ensure that mattresses are of good quality and suit your body’s requirements.

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