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Can You Get Too Much Sleep?

By Sara Butler

When you read about sleep, most of the focus is on how much sleep you should be getting each night. But, is there such a thing as too much sleep and if so, how much is too much? Here’s what you need to know about your sleep and how much may be too much of a good thing.

How Much Sleep You Need

How much time you need to sleep every night is influenced by a lot of things, including genetics, your health, and your age. On average, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. If you get less sleep than your body needs, you experience sleep deprivation, and constant sleep deprivation can lead to sleep debt. This is when you are sleepy during the day, and may be prone to taking naps or sleeping in on the weekends.

If you are naturally a long sleeper, you may sleep between eight and 10 hours a night. It is rare for a person to be able to function correctly on less than four hours of sleep per night or more than 12 hours – but those people do exist.

So, Can You Get Too Much Sleep?

Normally, you will sleep as long as your body needs to in order to rejuvenate, but if you find yourself sleeping for long periods of time on days when you don’t have to get up and be somewhere, that can be a sign of a sleep debt. So, in that sense, you may be getting too much sleep because you are not getting enough sleep on average the other days of the week.

You can get too much sleep, and there are health risks associated with it. If you get too much sleep at night you may experience:

  • Depression
  • Risk of obesity
  • Risk of diabetes
  • Risk of stroke
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased inflammation

How You Can Make Your Sleep Healthier

Sleep science still has a lot to learn about sleep and its full impact on people, but what is known for sure is that you can develop habits that will help promote sleep that is better in quality and healthier. To create healthy sleep habits you should:

  • Create a nighttime ritual for yourself – Often, a shower or a bath followed by some light reading might be a great way to unwind and get to sleep faster.
  • Turn off electronics two hours before bedtime- Electronic devices don’t allow your brain to rest, so put down the tablet and smartphone, turn off the TV and prepare yourself to catch some Zzzz’s.
  • Don’t take naps after 4 p.m. – If you take a nap too late it will be more difficult to get to sleep at night, and that can create a recipe for sleep deprivation that moves into sleep debt that results in oversleeping.

These are just a few suggestions; if you need more, talk to your chiropractor at The Joint during your next adjustment!

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