You could be inviting a host of health problems. Zeenia F Baria tells you more about it…
While experts say that an average person needs seven to eight hours of sleep everyday, there are people who suffer from the problem of oversleeping. Hypersomnia is a disorder characterised by excessive sleepiness. One often experiences prolonged night sleep and has difficulty waking up. Other symptoms include anxiety, increased irritation, low energy levels, restlessness, slow thought process, loss of appetite and difficulty in remembering things.
Integrated medicine therapy expert Dr Anil Patil opines that human sleep needs can vary with age and among individuals — there is no established criteria to determine exactly how much sleep a person needs, and sleep is considered to be adequate when there is no daytime sleepiness or dysfunction. “There are several side effects of over sleeping, which can interfere with one’s lifestyle by inhibiting the ability to cope with social situations,” he says.
Why do some people tend to sleep so much?
Healthcare consultant Dr Parul R Sheth says that some people are habituated to oversleep as their circadian rhythm (the 24 hour body clock) makes them so. “There are people who under-sleep during the week and oversleep during the weekend. Some may have hypersomnia (too much sleep), that makes you sleep during the day in addition to the night-time sleep. Those individuals with a condition called obstructive sleep apnoea in which breathing stops and starts again repeatedly, oversleep and experience daytime sleepiness. Depressed people tend to oversleep and go into sleep inertia. Alcohol, drug abuse and certain medications can also make you drowsy and cause sleepiness. Sleep needs vary from person to person and can change as you age. Your ability to function well depends upon how well rested you are, your total sleep time and the amount of various stages of sleep you get each night,” says Dr Sheth.
General medicinal expert Dr Amol Manerkar says that one can overcome this problem by making sure they sleep at more or less the same time daily, not sleep for more than eight hours a day, regularly exercise and maintain a healthy weight, avoid excessive stimulants and alcohol and seek medical help for sleep apnoea. “Remember, that inadequate sleep creates a sleep debt, which the body tries to recuperate by sleeping for longer hours.
Certain diseases and drugs can cause excessive sleepiness eg. alcohol, cough syrups. Other conditions like asthma, congestive cardiac failure and hypothyroidism also lead to excess sleep,” he says.
– Psychotherapy is recommended for patients with sleep disorders associated with other mental disorders.
– Ayurveda treatment is advised only after taking a detailed history of the patient and location and the exact cause of Hypersomnia.
– For some people, meditation, breathing exercises and yoga can help.
Side effects of oversleeping
Diabetes- Researchers have discovered that a side effect of too much sleep is diabetes. In a study of 9,000 people, they found that those who sleep more than nine hours per night are 50 per cent more likely to contract diabetes than those who sleep seven hours per night.
Obesity- Studies have proven that people who sleep nine to 10 hours per night are 21 per cent likelier to become obese over a six-year time span than people who sleep seven to eight hours nightly, even when food consumption and exercise levels were considered.
Heart disease- A study of 72,000 women found that women who sleep over nine hours nightly are 38 per cent likelier to experience coronary heart disease than women who sleep eight hours every night.
Depression- Regular sleep habits are important to recover from depression. Sleeping too much can worsen symptoms.
Death- A myriad of studies have proven that people who sleep nine or more hours per night have notably greater death rates than those who sleep seven to eight hours nightly.
Headaches- Sleeping too much can cause headaches, which scientists believe are linked to the effect of sleep on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. Too much sleep can disrupt the balance of the chemicals in the brain causing headaches.
Back pain- Too much sleep can cause great deals of pressure on the back for extended periods of time leading to backaches.
What are the side effects of oversleeping?
Oversleeping can make you feel groggy when you wake up, cause puffiness and eye bags around the eyes. It can also make you lethargic and sleepy during the day.
– Children need more sleep per day in order to develop and function properly — up to 18 hours for newborn babies, with a declining rate as a child grows.
– School children need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep.
– Adolescents need nine to 10 hours of sleep.
– Adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep daily.