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Oversleeping: How much is too much?

Oversleeping: How much is too much?

Never underestimate the importance of good sleep! It is well known that poor sleep is linked to a range of serious health issues including obesity and heart disease. While the concept of sleeping too much may seem like a teenage dream for sleep deprived souls, it too be linked to many of these same chronic health risks.


Sleep requirements for individuals vary greatly depending on age and lifestyle factors, with around 8 hours each night considered adequate for most adults. For those who are regularly achieving this level of sleep yet constantly experiencing daytime tiredness, seeking medical advice is recommended to rule out any underlying health causes.


Hypersomnia, oversleeping that sees sufferers sleeping extremely long hours at night and remaining exhausted throughout the day even with naps, is a diagnosable medical disorder. Sleep apnoea, another disorder leading to interrupted sleep as sleepers momentarily stop breathing, can also lead to oversleeping.


Fortunately, not every incidence of oversleeping is a disorder. It may however be an indicator of poor health. Depression has been strongly linked to longer sleep periods as has the use of some substances including alcohol and prescription medicines. Research also links low socio-economic status with increased sleep needs. One suggested cause is that the high cost of health care deters people seeking care; undiagnosed illnesses and poor health lead to increased tiredness.


Developing good sleep hygiene habits can assist in achieving a great night's sleep. Start with a consistent sleep pattern to achieve the required 8 hours, a healthy diet combined with a regular exercise routine and avoiding caffeine, alcohol and blue light emissions prior to bedtime. If constant tiredness persists, seek professional assistance to rule out any serious health concerns.