6 signs you’re getting too much sleep (yes, it can happen)
We’re of the mind that sleeping should’ve been declared a national pastime eons ago, but that hasn’t happened (though the dream lives on). And it turns out, getting too much sleep can actually be — wait for it — bad for your health.
We’ve probably ruined weekend plans for a whole lotta people who routinely use those two days to catch up on some shut-eye. But research shows that binge-sleeping does a number on your mind and body, and not in a good way. In fact, napping too much isn’t much better than not getting a good night’s sleep, a fact that we find utterly difficult to accept, but the research is there. Excessive sleep means getting more than 7-9 hours a night, and oversleeping is linked with health hazards like heart disease and diabetes.
That’s more than enough incentive for us to wake the hell up, remove our eye masks and pay attention to these signs that you might be getting too much sleep.
1You’re experiencing brain fog.
While brain fog isn’t technically a medical condition, we all know the signs: Our brain is there, we know it’s trying really hard to work, but it just can’t seem to shift into gear and produce a clear, sensible thought. If getting enough sleep helps to refresh the brain, then it stands to reason that a few extra hours of napping would turn you into a full-fledged genius, no? Actually, it has the complete opposite affect.
According to WebMD, one cause of your brain fog could be excessive snoozing. “Too much sleep can make your brain feel foggy,” the site notes.
Life is full of people, places and experiences that produce varying degrees of head pain. Unfortunately, something that stresses our noggins is sleeping too much, which can cause headaches.
Dr. Elizabeth McDevitt, a researcher at the Sleep and Cognition Lab at the University of California, Riverside, discussed the possible link between too much sleep and headaches with Reader’s Digest:
"The mechanism behind this isn't understood that well, and one hypothesis is that fluctuations in neurotransmitters during sleep may be a trigger for headaches," Dr. McDevitt said. "Another possibility is that when people sleep later in the morning, they may be sleeping past their normal breakfast or coffee time, and the headaches may be related to caffeine withdrawals, low blood sugar, or dehydration."
3You have pain all over.
Lying in bed for extended periods of time feels soo good — until it doesn’t. If you wake up feeling achy and sore after an extra long rest period, it could also be a sign that you’ve slept too much.
4 You wake up feeling tired.
You stayed up too late binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, so to reward yourself and give your burning, blurred eyes a break, you sleep through the next day. But instead of feeling better than ever, you wake up feeling more exhausted than before you crashed.
If it feels like sleeping in has backfired on you, Wired explains why oversleeping to balance out a lack of z’s doesn’t always work out in our favor.
"When you sleep too much, you're throwing off that biological clock, and it starts telling the cells a different story than what they're actually experiencing, inducing a sense of fatigue. You might be crawling out of bed at 11am, but your cells started using their energy cycle at seven. This is similar to how jet lag works."
5You’re suffering from memory loss.
A 2015 report from the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study suggests that getting too much sleep can affect your memory in a negative way. Study leader Elizabeth Devore and her team surveyed a group of women about their sleep habits in 1986 and again in 2000. Later, researchers also interviewed the women about their memory and thinking skills over a six-year period. In the end, they found that the subjects who got insufficient or excessive amounts of sleep performed worse on a series of brain tests compared to those who averaged seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
You’ve gained weight.
Absolutely no one needs another reason to worry about gaining weight (which isn’t a bad thing, btw). But if you notice a correlation between the increased amount of sleep you’re getting and your weight, it could be a sign that you need to cut back on the snoozing.
Researchers haven’t quite sussed out the “why” behind oversleeping and weight gain, but they do know a connection exists. A study conducted by The University of Glasgow found a link between sleeping habits and an increase in weight for those who are genetically predisposed to obesity.
"The study...found that in people with high genetic risk for obesity, both short sleep durations (less than 7 hours per night) and long sleep durations (more than 9 hours per night) further increased risk of carrying excess weight, compared with those who slept for normal durations (between 7 and 9 hours every night)."
Sleeping in every once in a while is fine, but if your habit of extended napping is making you feel worse in general, it may be time to press the reset button on your sleeping schedule for the sake of your health.