Is Getting Too Much Sleep Harmful?

woman sleeping with comical sleep mask on

Is Getting Too Much Sleep Harmful?

Too Much Sleep?

Can a person suffer from too much sleep? While having a good night’s rest is undoubtedly beneficial for your overall health, oversleeping, on the other hand, can cause a whole slew of problems. Sleep, just like chocolate, should be enjoyed and taken in reasonable amounts – too much of both have links to issues such as diabetes, congestive heart disease, and even increased risk of death.

too much sleep harmful

Aside from these probable health complications, oversleeping – or hypersomnia – is sometimes a symptom of underlying diseases that often go undiagnosed. Although most people suffering from depression often experience insomnia, recent studies show that an estimated 15 percent of depressed patients endure bouts of oversleeping instead.

Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes someone to stop breathing for brief moments while resting, can also lead to an increased need for more sleeping time. Heart disease has also been linked to oversleeping, as suggested by a recent study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder. According to the survey, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, oversleeping can boost inflammation in the body, which inevitably leads to heart disease.

If you’re suffering from hypersomnia, consider a visit to the doctor to determine the cause. It may be a symptom of a more serious health condition that should be identified before it worsens.

How much sleep is too much?

Depending on your age, physical activity levels, and overall lifestyle, the amount of sleep you require will vary throughout the years. Nonetheless, medical experts suggest a minimum resting period of seven hours to a maximum of nine hours as optimal benchmarks. Any more or less will usually cause health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, chronic back pain, and even crippling migraines.

Common health problems related to oversleeping


In a 2012 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, researchers found that low blood sugar can often cause narcolepsy, which leads to excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, sleep paralysis, and chronic hallucinations.


Research has shown that sleeping too much could lead to weight gain and, eventually, obesity. Current studies suggest that people who sleep for more than nine to 10 hours every night had a 21 percent increased chance of developing obesity during a five to six-year period compared to people who sleep for an average of eight hours. This connection between rapid weight gain and sleep remained constant even with food and exercise were taken into account.

Headaches and migraines

People suffering from chronic headaches or debilitating migraines can exacerbate their condition through oversleeping. Experts believe that too much rest negatively affects neurotransmitters in the brain, the most important of which is serotonin – a chemical that the body uses to synthesize melatonin, another neurotransmitter that regulates the body’s biological clock.

Chronic back pain

Spending too much time lying down and sleeping often leads to ligament strains, muscle aches, and other recurrent back problems. Unless you’re suffering from spinal injuries that require surgery, staying in bed for longer than two days will cause a loss of muscle strength and flexibility.

See a doctor if you have problems oversleeping

If you find that you’re averaging more than nine or 10 hours of rest every night, consider seeing your family physician for a checkup. Regardless of the cause of your hypersomnia, however, you should always practice healthy sleep hygiene by keeping a consistent sleep schedule. Your body, and your mind, will thank you for it.