In a society where most people get less than seven hours of sleep per night, the idea of too much sleep seems almost laughably ridiculous. There is, however, such a thing as too much sleep. Oversleeping frequently can not only mean you're not getting healthy sleep each night, but it can also indicate certain health problems. Here's what you need to know.
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When You Just Need More Sleep
When you aren't getting enough shut-eye on a regular basis, your body tries to balance it out. If you find yourself oversleeping by a few hours only on days when you don't have to get up, it's probably a sign that you just aren't getting enough sleep at night. You might just be too busy; take a look at your routine and see what you can eliminate to free up time to get some rest. You might also be wasting the evening hours; if you're staying up too late doing leisure activities, try to plan more fun into the main part of your day, so you'll get the relaxation you need without compromising your rest.
Physical Health Problems
Sometimes oversleeping, especially if you do it each and every day, or having a lot of trouble getting up, can indicate a health problem. The most common health problem that interferes with healthy sleep is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when you briefly stop breathing during the night, which partially wakes you. Since this happens hundreds of times per night, you end up feeling exhausted even when you've spent enough time in bed. Many people with sleep apnea also snore. Snoring combined with lack of restful sleep is a sign you should see your doctor.
Mental Health Problems
One in four adults will experience a major mental health problem at some point in their lives, and oversleeping can be a symptom of many conditions. Many people struggling with major depression find themselves sleeping too much, as do people with bipolar disorder during their depressive phases. Even anxiety issues or social phobias can sometimes manifest as oversleeping. Mental health issues can be serious, but they are also highly treatable with medication and lifestyle changes. See your doctor if you think you need help.
Most of the time oversleeping is just a sign you need more rest, but never hesitate to seek help if you need it. Healthy sleep may be just a doctor's visit away.
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