You might be familiar with the saying, “too much sleep makes you tired,” and wonder if it is just an old wives’ tale or whether there is any truth.
Well, there is. Sleeping too much during the day or oversleeping in the mornings can lead us to get more sleep than we need.
When this happens, the circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, gets thrown out of sync.
Our circadian rhythm signals the brain, telling it when to go to sleep and wake up, so when we are not getting enough sleep, wake up multiple times during the night, or oversleep, this function does not work as intended.
So, getting a lot of sleep during the day can mean you are not tired by bedtime.
This can cause you to be exhausted the following day, creating a vicious cycle. Therefore, you either end up staying up all night, have broken sleep, or start suffering insomnia symptoms.
In this guide, I will explain why some people need to sleep too much during the day. I will also discuss how this can affect your physical and mental health.
I will also be looking into the various things you can do to change and prevent these behaviors, improving your sleep hygiene.
Causes of Excessive Sleeping During The Day
Many reasons can cause people to sleep excessively during the day. Some of these problems are medical, and some are down to a lack of routine. Below, I will talk about some causes of oversleeping during the day and discuss some remedies you can use to fight them.
Insomnia is one of the biggest causes of sleep disturbance and fatigue during the day, with over forty million people in the US suffering from the condition. Insomnia can occur for multiple reasons, such as working late/early shifts, depression, anxiety, psychiatric problems, bad habits, and even diet.
Suppose you lead a hectic, busy lifestyle or have a very demanding job. In that case, it is not unusual to experience bouts of insomnia, long-term and short-term.
Most of the time, insomnia will not need medical attention and can be corrected at home. However, in more extreme cases, it may be beneficial to seek help from a doctor.
2. Sleep Deprivation
A lack of sleep is a well-known problem for people who often feel fatigued during the day, and there can be many reasons why this might occur.
For instance, any change in circumstance, such as moving home, worrying about a new job, new neighbors, introducing a pet, or having a baby, are all problems that can prevent you from falling asleep or waking you up through the night.
In these cases, it’s understandable why you might feel tired in the afternoon and feel the need to power nap. However, sometimes it is not possible. It is worth trying to fight through that afternoon slog and instead gets an early night to try and get your circadian rhythm back into sync.
3. Idiopathic Hypersomnia
Suppose you are finding yourself excessively tired during the day without apparent reason. In that case, there could be a chance you are suffering from Idiopathic Hypersomnia.
It is recognized by the demand for long periods of sleep throughout the day, even after a good night’s sleep. This is because the sleep being had at night is not restorative.
This condition is not yet thoroughly researched or understood, which means there is no cure. The only thing advised is to follow steps to improve symptoms related to insomnia.
People suffering from depression will quite often find that they feel tired all the time. This can be because when a person is depressed, they lose interest in everything from exercise to communication and even day-to-day chores. The lack of movement can often lead to fatigue and the need to go to bed to avoid activities.
The excessive tiredness associated with depression is not usually linked to a disturbed sleep schedule but the condition’s physical and mental side effects. As well as the overwhelming need to go to sleep, the lack of exercise will leave you feeling fatigued.
Therefore, depression should be dealt with first instead of seeking sleep remedies.
5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a physically and mentally taxing condition that can seriously impact your everyday life. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this condition at this time. More often than not, the condition is brought on by a virus or psychological or physical traumatic experience.
6. Restless Leg Syndrome
This frustrating condition can cause a tingling sensation and twitch in your legs. The sufferer usually gets the constant urge to move their legs around and struggles to settle them into a comfortable position. It can also cause significant pain, which feels like a dull, consistent ache.
This involuntary movement in the lower half of the body can keep you awake during the night, resulting in a need to catch up on lost sleep during the day.
Some things known to aggravate restless leg syndrome can be eliminated to lessen the symptoms, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol and quitting smoking. If these things do not help, you should seek medical help.
7. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a concerning condition in which the muscles in the throat and tongue become so relaxed that they block the airways, causing the sufferer to stop breathing momentarily.
When this happens frequently, it will probably cause you to wake up, breaking your sleep throughout the night.
This is a severe condition that should be spoken about with your doctor. Your doctor may try treatments such as dental devices, CPAP machines, and surgery in worse-case scenarios.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes constant aches and pains, fatigue, and emotional torment. Most sufferers of this debilitating illness will often find that they struggle with sleep due to their symptoms. It can also disrupt your sleep cycle.
There is currently no treatment to cure this condition. Still, treatments can help reduce the symptoms, which can be provided by a medical professional.
While some may think that a tipple before bed will help you get a good night’s sleep, this is not the case.
What alcohol tends to do is skip out the first stage of the sleep cycle, which results in you crashing into a deep sleep for a short amount of time, leaving you in the lighter stages of sleep for the rest of the night.
When this happens, the body misses out on the whole, refreshing night’s sleep, which can lead to fatigue the following day.
How to Prevent Excessive Sleeping During The Day?
Your diet can play a significant part in the quality of sleep you get when it comes to the evening. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, your body needs the correct amount of nutrients. Eating healthy will also help to prevent obesity and lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
When we spend time in the sun, our bodies are fuelled with a hormone called serotonin, which helps to increase mood. When we lack serotonin, it can lead to depression, which can have a knock-on effect on our sleeping patterns.
Our sleep schedule is vital to keep in check when you want to prevent excessive sleeping during the day. It is crucial to ensure that you go to sleep, and wake up at the same time every day, even at the weekend. This will train your body to wake up naturally and fall asleep easier.
Exercising is an excellent way to ensure that your mind and body are healthy. Exercising daily will boost your mood and improve your physical health. All these factors are aids to getting a refreshing night’s sleep. Try not to exercise too near bedtime, as your energy and endorphin levels may be too high, preventing you from falling asleep.
Before going to bed, you should avoid using devices such as computers, phones, and televisions. Using anything with a screen will keep your mind alert and suppress the amount of melatonin (a hormone that induces sleep) in your brain.
The environment in which you sleep can affect your sleep quality. Ideally, you must ensure that your bedroom is as dark, as cool as possible, and free from sounds or other distractions. You can also try using sleep aids such as eye masks, earplugs, and allergen pillows (if you are someone who struggles with allergies) which may assist you in falling asleep more peacefully.
Effects of Too Much Sleep on Your General Health
Sleeping excessively during the day can massively impact how you sleep at night, as well as have a negative effect on your daily responsibilities. Not only can this disrupt your life, but it can majorly influence your mental and physical health. Below are some minor and more severe side effects of oversleeping.
- Heart Disease
- Weight gain
- Fertility problems
- Relationship breakdowns
- Lack of energy
Final Thoughts on Excessive Sleep
What I hope you are taking away from this guide is that everyone is different regarding their habits, health, and sleep patterns. However, to improve your sleep hygiene, there are many things you can do to help yourself at home.
Of course, certain medical conditions can not be treated at home, such as obstructive sleep apnea and depression.
If you think you are suffering from more than just sleep struggles, it is strongly advised that you seek help from a medical professional before trying any home remedies.
Overall, a good night’s sleep results from your behaviors, habits, and lifestyle choices, so by opting to improve your diet or change your exercise routine, you are highly likely to start noticing an improvement in the quality of sleep you are getting.
Combined with these minor lifestyle changes, once you get out of the habit of napping during the day, you find that your sleep quality during the night feels much more restorative. You should have a lot more energy and feel happier in yourself.