Is oversleeping bad? Or is it a good thing, to catch up on all our lost sleep? While chronic sleep loss is definitely an issue, as is oversleeping. Specifically, oversleeping contributes to a host of problems – from mental health issues to excessive fatigue. Breaking it down for you, here is exactly what happens when you oversleep, highlighting exactly why oversleeping is bad. This article originally featured in Daily Mail.
What happens to the body when we oversleep?
Lack of concentration, headaches, fatigue, and even depression are just some of the things that happen to your body when you oversleep, a sleep expert has claimed.
Olivia Arezzolo, from Sydney, said while you might think that spending more than nine hours sleeping regularly would have you leaping out of bed the next day, in fact it can often mean the opposite.
‘Studies show that long sleep is as problematic as short sleep – it can increase your risk of mortality by up to 30 per cent,’ Olivia told FEMAIL.
Oversleeping leads to fatigue
Oversleeping regularly can throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythm, or our internal body clock, which leaves us feeling extremely fatigued,’ Olivia said. If you continually sleep for more than nine hours, you might wake up feeling groggy or almost jet-lagged and in need of another nap because your internal clock is out of sync:
‘Oversleeping limits serotonin production, a hormone which usually makes you feel alert and energised,’ Olivia explained. ‘In the absence of light, the body produces melatonin – the hormone which makes you feel sleepy. When you’re sleeping, it’s likely to be dark.
‘Hence, more darkness can lead to more sleepiness even the next day.’
The second thing to watch out for if you’re guilty of too much sleep is headaches.
Many people can often struggle with headaches at the weekends when they sleep in and try to ‘catch up’ on sleep.
‘Many individuals are chronically sleep deprived,’ Olivia said.
‘So if you are trying to amend your sleep patterns, you may find yourself needing to sleep more for a small period of time to “catch up” on the sleep you’ve missed for weeks, months or even years.’
The expert warns against trying to do this in order to get back on track, but rather recommends re-setting your body clock.
..and low productivity
Research pinpoints hypersomniacs, compared to normal sleepers, are mentally 2 years older. This translates to slower processing speed, impaired memory, worse concentration and poor judgement.
Reflecting this, clinical studies note 79% of those with hypersomnia also report memory loss.
.. and depression
One of the more serious side effects of oversleeping is low mood, and even depression. ‘Research shows links between oversleeping and depression,’ Olivia said. ‘For those diagnosed with the condition, evidence pinpoints that 40 per cent are also considered hypersomniacs (long sleepers).’
Olivia said this may be to do with biochemical changes in the brain associated with the happiness hormone serotonin. When you spend lots of time in bed, you are likely to be reducing your physical activity levels which are important for the release of feel-good endorphins, serotonin and dopamine,’ she said.
Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible, even at the weekends when it can be tempting to spend longer in bed.