For working adults and busy parents, sleep is one of the most rewarding things they could have. Taking some time off the hustles and bustles of everyday life and spending some lazy time in bed or on the couch is something almost all of them look forward to.
Paying your ‘sleep debts’ by adding an extra hour of sleep your habitual sleep schedule can relieve stress; however, sleeping more than the recommended number of sleep hours can do more harm than help. If you think that you are slowly becoming sleep-a-holic, then it is time to check up on your sleeping routine.
How much sleep is right for me?
The number of recommended hours of sleep varies depending on the age group. Newborn babies and children require more sleep for their development while grown-ups need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep at night, which is enough for them to work properly during the day.
Here is how you should sleep according to your age group:
Newborns (0-3 weeks ): 14-17 hours
Babies (4-12 weeks ): 12-16 hours
Toddler (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
School-age (6-12 years): 9-12 hours
Teen (13-18 years): 8-10 hours
Mature (18-60 years): 7+ hours
Mature (61-64 years): 7-9 hours
Mature (65+ years): 7-8 hours
Having the required amount of sleep that fits your age has a lot of benefits for your physical and mental health. It is important to include your sleep in your time management so that you can maximize its benefits.
What could be the consequences if I sleep too much?
Although sleep deprivation can be aided by sleeping longer hours, it is not entirely advisable to spend so much time on the bed. Health professionals warn about the possible harms oversleeping can cause you.
Oversleeping is linked to the following health problems:
Obesity – Sleeping more than enough without having adequate physical activity can increase chances of gaining weight.
Type 2 diabetes – Research shows that there is a possible link between the risk of having Type 2 Diabetes and oversleeping.
Heart disease – Previous studies have revealed that sleep alterations may disrupt glucose metabolism and appetite, which can accelerate obesity, in connection to heart diseases.
Depression – People with depression tend to sleep longer hours (or lack sleep, too). This could be their way to cope with their situation which can be detrimental.
Back pain – Spending too much time lying on your bed, like when sitting or standing for several hours, contributes to an increase in back pain.
Headaches – Brain neurotransmitters can be affected by oversleeping, causing head pains. Also, people oftentimes experience headache, grogginess, and drowsiness when they sleep too much, similar when they are sleep deprived.
How is oversleeping diagnosed?
Monitoring your sleep routine is also important to keep up with your overall health condition. If you notice an alarming change in the quality of your sleep, especially when it is already affecting your performance, then it is time to consult a doctor.
There are several tests and steps you can take to determine your sleep health. These are the following:
Record your sleep hours
Keeping a sleep diary can help you see certain patterns on your sleep in connection to your daily activities, diet, medications, or any other factors that you think are affecting the quality of your sleep.
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
This scale is widely used in sleep medicine to gauge the sleepiness of a person. The results from this test can show you are experiencing excessive sleepiness that requires medical attention.
A polysomnography is a diagnostic test that records your brain activity, heart rate, muscle movement, etc. to study your sleep activity. This is done by attaching wires to your head which are connected to a monitor that shows brain waves.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
An MSLT test, also called a daytime nap study, is a standard tool used by medical professionals to measure if you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness.
How can I avoid sleeping too much?
Learning the possible consequences of oversleeping, it’s time for you to take action and stick to a healthy sleeping routine.
Make your bedroom comfortable for sleeping
To have a quality sleep at night and prevent yourself from sleeping too much, you should make your bed more comfortable. Replace your mattress or invest on a good pillow to avoid having back pains. You can also decrease your room temperature as sleeping in a hot bedroom can reduce the chances of achieving an REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Turning off the light or reducing the light in your bedroom can help you fall asleep easily as sleep hormones respond to light as well.
You can also use Flents Ear Plugs, a type of ear plugs that can effectively block loud noise such as heavy machinery, music, concerts, and other distractions that can interrupt having a restful night.
It has a 33 decibel noise reduction rate and can fit your ear comfortably.
Stick to regular sleeping schedule
Having a consistent sleep schedule can help prevent oversleeping as your body clock will be regulated, keeping you awake at a specific time in the morning and asleep at a constant hour at night. This will also help you avoid having excessive daytime naps.
Get out of bed immediately
You will still feel sleepy If you keep lying on your bed even when you are already awake. Once you hear the sound of your alarm, get out of bed and do your chores because the moment you snooze your clock, the more sleep will drag you to a depth which is hard to wake up from.
Plan your whole day
Keeping a checklist of what you need to do during the day can help you avoid the temptation of napping or sleeping for longer hours. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and you will tend to continue doing the same, thus, preventing yourself from spending your time in bed.