Do you sleep too much?

07 Sep Do you sleep too much?

The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is around 7-9 hours. People who experience excessive sleepiness or hypersomnia go beyond the realm of the normal range and get too much sleep.  This is more than just catching up on lost sleep or recovering your sleep debt. The characteristics of hypersomnia can differ between individuals it is important to be aware of the symptoms. These can include;

  • Need for daytime naps
  • Sleeping for the recommended hours and still feeling drowsy
  • Feeling tired all the time (once again regardless of hours slept)
  • Your mind feels “foggy” making it difficult to think and make decisions
  • Feeling apathetic
  • Increased risk of accidents (specifically motor vehicle).

The causes of hypersomnia can be due to a wide range of effects or underlying conditions;

  • Continually working long hours – can increase the need for extra sleep
  • Shift work – if you work at night you may be out of sync with your circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock)
  • Environmental factors – sounds waking you up (snoring partner, baby), temperature of room, mattress quality
  • Mental state – anxiety and depression
  • Medications – alcohol, caffeine, sleeping pills and antihistamines can all disrupt sleeping patterns
  • Sleep disorders – underlying conditions such as sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia and insomnia could all disrupt sleep and cause fragmented sleep.

The following lifestyle changes such as good sleep hygiene could improve sleep quality and help with hypersomnia;

  • Start a regular sleep routine – set bed time
  • Exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet
  • Try and relax before bedtime to prevent night-time anxiety
  • Reduce or change sleep environment – room temperature, noise levels etc.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and even cigarettes before bed
  • Brief “power” naps during the day

However, if you still experience hypersomnia despite making the advised lifestyle changes you should consider talking to a sleep disorders clinic to investigate an underlying sleep disorder.