How much sleep is too much?
Like all things that help us stay healthy and feel good, the key to getting the right amount of sleep is balance and routine. The rule of thumb is that eight hours each night is ideal, but realistically most people land somewhere within the seven- to nine-hour window. Your chronotype, lifestyle and circadian rhythm all influence how much sleep is ideal for you, but what we do know is that under six and over ten hours can have negative health implications.
So, how do you determine how much sleep is too much for you? When it comes to measuring sleep, quality is more important than quantity. You may have been in bed with your eyes shut for eight hours, but how much of that time did you spend in a sleep cycle, actually resting and restoring your mind and body? Tossing and turning, worrying thoughts and waking up easily, amongst other sleep conditions, can reduce the quality of your sleep.
When you wake up feeling refreshed and energised, you’ve probably gotten adequate sleep. As Professor Kevin Morgan from Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit explains, sleeping more than the adequate amount for you could be too much. Meaning if your body responds best to 7.5 hours of quality rest, aiming for nine might be doing yourself a disservice.
The occasional sleep-in shouldn’t have significant impacts on your health overall. However, if you are consistently sleeping in to ‘catch-up’ after days of waking up early, you could throw out your body clock. Waking up later than you’re used to can lead to headaches or grogginess, as your brain has finished its usual sleep cycle, but your body is still asleep. This ‘yo-yo sleeping’ is an unhelpful pattern in itself, but what happens when you’re consistently getting too much sleep?
What are the health implications of sleeping too much?
Weight gain and diabetes
Oversleeping can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate.
Science is still unclear on exactly how oversleeping increases your risk of heart disease, but it is widely understood that there is a correlation between oversleeping and heart disease. A study from the Chinese Academy of Medical Science indicates a 41% increase in the risk of heart disease in people sleeping more than 10 hours a night.
Mental health issues
Oversleeping can lead to or worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Depression often causes oversleeping, too, so this can be a vicious cycle. Your mood and emotional resilience can also be negatively impacted by oversleeping.
Longitudinal sleep epidemiology indicates that people with longer than average sleep durations may have a shorter lifespan. This can be linked in part to an increased amount of time spent sedentary, amongst other biological factors.
Too much time spent sleeping can take away from your relationships and time spent being present with others.
How can you stop yourself from sleeping too much?
- Figure out what is an adequate amount of sleep for you (somewhere between seven to nine hours). You can do this by keeping a sleep journal and recording how much you slept, the quality of the sleep, how you felt waking up and how your energy lasted during the day. Stick to your adequate amount.
- Practise sleep hygiene to optimise the quality of the sleep you get.
- Speak with a doctor or sleep specialist if you’re experiencing chronic tiredness or issues with sleep.
- Help improve the quality of your sleep with RESCUE Sleep® and other natural remedies.