This is what happens if you get too much sleep

Postdate: 10 September 2018

Sleep deprivation has various effects on your physical and mental health. On the other hand, it is also possible to get too much sleep. If you get more hours of sleep than your body needs, your health may suffer. This may associate getting up with ‘sleep drunkenness’. This is a condition in which you get up in a confused state and you can even become aggressive.

The risks of a long night
Not everyone needs to be wary of a long night. In fact, there are significant individual differences in the need for sleep. This also depends on your genes, age and lifestyle. About 2% of the population need more than ten hours of sleep per night. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day. Only if you structurally need more hours of sleep than appropriate, the alarm bells should go off.

See also: 7 reasons why enough sleep is important

Scientific research has shown that excess sleep increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Too many hours of sleep also disrupt your biological clock and can cause your daytime too include too little daylight. This can cause the immune system to weaken and make you more susceptible to diseases.

Causes of prolonged sleep
There may be several reasons for someone sleeping longer than is necessary. Sleep quality may be poor because of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea. Another possibility is the presence of an underlying physical condition such as thyroid problems. Mental disorders may also be accompanied by excessive sleepiness. One of the common psychological symptoms that often occurs together with too much sleep is depression.

Occasionally sleeping in and sleeping longer than normal does not directly lead to major problems, but it should not happen too often. Getting up at midday after a night out, or having a nap because of short nights disrupts day-night rhythms. This means a greater chance of having irregular sleep patterns, lack of sleep and deteriorated sleep quality. Fixed bedtimes at least five days a week and shifting bedtimes by up to 1.5 on one to two days is feasible, and increases the chances of an optimum night’s sleep.

More information about sleep? You can also read the other blogs about the importance of a good night’s sleep.

'Only if you structurally need more hours of sleep than appropriate, the alarm bells should go off'
Dr Larissa van der Zalm, healthcare psychologist and cognitive behavioral therapist
- Dr Larissa van der Zalm, healthcare psychologist and cognitive behavioral therapist

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