Why Do I Sleep So Much? Your Excessive Sleepiness Explained
If you find yourself sleeping excessive amounts or feeling tired and drowsy all day, you are not alone. Sadly this is something that affects a huge number of Americans. Excessive sleepiness is a symptom that can be attributed to a variety of lifestyle factors or medical conditions. This post will delve into the most common of these to answer your question: Why do I sleep so much?
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According to the Sleep Association, excessive sleeping is a condition where the body demands sleeping hours longer than are usually necessary. People who suffer from this will generally sleep over 10 hours per day. Once awake, they will not feel rejuvenated but in fact will remain exhausted and drowsy throughout the day.
Excessive sleepiness can have a massive impact on your life. Not only do you spend more hours sleeping, the time you are awake is spent in a state of tiredness. This can affect your general mood, happiness and productivity.
Ugghhh Why Do I Sleep So Much?
The first question you need to ask yourself is: how healthy is your lifestyle? A healthy diet and regular exercise will have a very positive impact on the quality of your sleep and how much energy you have throughout the day. The effect food has on energy levels is undisputed. If you are eating a lot of high sugar or caffeine foods you are likely to feel exhausted much of the time. This is because the short term energy boost they provide always give way to much longer term slump in energy levels. Other foods to avoid are those which are high in processed carbs and fats. These provide little energy generating value. Instead try and eat foods which are high in vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants.
Regular exercise will also go a long way to ensuring you get better quality sleep and more energy throughout the day. Just 30 minutes a day 4 times a week will give you an incredible energy boost. Not only will you sleep more effectively, you will feel more awake and mentally stimulated throughout the day.
Your Sleeping Patterns
A big contributor to how awake you feel throughout the day is your sleeping pattern. While it may seem obvious that not getting enough sleep will leave you feeling tired throughout the day, getting too much sleep will also leave you feeling lethargic. According to Healthbeat of the Harvard Medical School, there is a correlation between too much sleep and low energy levels. The fact that you should sleep less to feel more awake, and in turn need to sleep less may seem counter intuitive. However establishing a routine of more optimal sleep hours will leave you feeling better in the long run.
The average healthy adult needs between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night. While we sleep our brains are going through cycles. Each sleep cycle is made up of REM (rapid-eye-movement) and NREM (non-rapid-eye-movement) and lasts around 90 minutes. By aiming to wake up in between sleep cycles, we give ourselves the best chance of waking up feeling energized and refreshed. While everyone is different and has different sleep cycle lengths, you can train yourself to wake up at the right moment. To do this, set your alarm for 7.5 hours after your fall asleep time. This is a good starting point because 7.5 hours gives you 5 sleep cycles. Try this for a few days and see if you start to naturally wake up a couple minutes before the alarm. If you do, perfect. You are waking up in between sleep cycles naturally, and will likely start to feel more energized. If not, set the alarm for 15 minutes later, and try that for a few days. By trial and error, you will likely find the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed in as little as a couple weeks.
Not only do you want to aim for the right moment to wake up, the regularity of your sleep is very important. Our bodies are used to routines known as circadian rhythms. According to Ask Alice at Columbia University, erratic sleeping habits will cause your natural circadian rhythm to go out of sync. This will leave you feeling unrefreshed and exhausted throughout the day. Healthbeat: “any significant deviation from normal sleep patterns can upset the body’s rhythms and increase daytime fatigue”.
You May Have Hypersomnia
Feeling excessively tired can come down to lifestyle and sleep patterns. It can also come down to having a sleeping disorder. If your daytime sleepiness is at a more extreme level where you struggle to stay awake throughout the day and feel no reprieve even after napping, it is likely that you have hypersomnia.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states “Different from feeling tired due to lack of or interrupted sleep at night, persons with hypersomnia are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or in conversation”. The National Hypersomnia Foundation defines the main symptom as being relentlessly sleepy during the day despite over 10 hours of sleep per night. Other symptoms include feeling unrefreshed after sleep, or experiencing sleep drunkenness which is a high level of disorientation on awakening. If this sounds like you, we recommend that you visit your local doctor.
Why Do I Sleep So Much: Final Word
If you keep asking yourself, why do I sleep so much, odds are your feeling frustrated with the impact your tiredness is having on your life. Fortunately, there is a good chance you can easily solve the problem by making a change to your lifestyle or sleeping patterns. It is however possible that you have developed hypersomnia, in which case you should get the professional advice of a doctor.