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Can You Get Too Much Sleep?

By Edited May 26, 2015 0 0

Michael had just finished his third 'semester' of
college.  Being in an accelerated degree program, his summer break
amounted to a mere two weeks.  He also held down a part-time job, an
additional demand on his time.

After his last class on Wednesday, he went home to
take a well deserved nap.   "I'll be up in an hour" he
thought.  Fourteen hours later he woke up, and had to rush to get
ready for work.  That day he felt funny in the head and it was hard
to think clearly. He kept making mistakes, stupid mistakes. Worse
yet, when he went home, he slept another eleven hours that night.
This pattern would repeat for him for the next several weeks.

Was this simple exhaustion?  Maybe he was just
plain lazy.  Or, perhaps something more serious was causing him to
oversleep. 

See your doctor if...

The medical term for oversleeping is hypersomnia.
Hypersomnia can be caused by sleep apnea, prescription medications or
can have other physical causes. In some cases, it is not known what
causes oversleeping.

Some of the symptoms of too much sleep include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.  This is more
    than just being tired.  With hypersomnia, this sleepiness goes on
    for days, weeks or months.

  • Excessive nighttime sleep.  An adult needs
    seven to eight hours of sleep per night.  The hypersomnia patient
    may sleep nine or more hours per night over a prolonged period of
    time.

  • Compelled to nap, perhaps at inappropriate
    times.  The patient may need to nap during meals, while in
    conversation, while at work or at other inappropriate times.  Upon
    waking from the nap, the hypersomnia patient will not feel
    refreshed.

  • Other symptoms may include anxiety,
    irritability, low energy, restlessness, slowed thinking, slowed
    speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, and memory problems.

Webmd and other sources recommend seeing your
doctor if you regularly sleep more than seven or eight hours a night.

Why should I take it seriously?

Bear in mind that there are some serious health
issues associated with oversleeping.  Oversleeping may indicate the
presence of another illness.

  • Depression.  People who sleep too much are
    more likely to suffer from depression.

  • Heart disease. A study involving 72,000
    women showed that the women who slept nine to eleven hours per night
    were 38% more likely to have coronary heart disease in comparison
    with women who only slept eight hours per night.

  • Diabetes. In another study of 9000 Americans,
    it was found that people who slept more than nine hours a night, or
    less than five (to be fair),  had a 50% greater risk of diabetes.

  • Premature death. A number of studies have
    also demonstrated that too much sleep is linked to death.
    specifically, those who sleep more than eight hours a night are at
    the highest risk.  The chance of dying increases as the number of
    hours spent sleeping increases.

And what about Michael mentioned at the outset?
He went to his doctor and after an exam his doctor readjusted his
medications.  In a few weeks, he was back to his normal sleeping
pattern.  His brief bout with too much sleep was over...for now.

 

References:

"Symptoms of Too Much Sleep" Healthy-Way  Dec 21,2011
http://www.healthy-way.org/symptoms-of-too-much-sleep


"Physical Side Effects of Oversleeping"  Webmd  Dec 21,2011
www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/physical-side-effects-oversleeping

 

 

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