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It is possible to get too much sleep. Each person needs a specific amount of sleep. Getting too much sleep can make a person as lethargic and tired as not getting enough sleep. The reason for this is because it takes the body quite awhile to get itself to a normal temperature after waking, which causes drowsiness for a few hours. It may even happen that the body's temperature does not climb to its peak at all, which will cause lethargy throughout the entire day. Keeping one's eyes closed for a long time releases excess melatonin which may not deplete quickly enough and leaves one feeling drained of energy.
Too much sleep weakens the body because it is not awake long enough to absorb sunlight or to get exercise. The immune system is also weakened, making one more susceptible to illness. The use of artificial light, called bright light therapy or phototherapy, is a way to bring down the levels of melatonin after waking and helps to increase energy levels. This therapy is also useful for those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to getting adequate sleep. One can sleep for eight hours a night and not fall into deep sleep, which is the most important kind of sleep for the health of the body. Often, people do not achieve deep sleep due to lack of exercise or too much caffeine. Coffee is often the drug of choice for those suffering from morning lethargy, but this can have a negative effect on the sleep system.
Too much sleep seems to be a contributing factor in diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. It can also cause migraines. Some other factors than can affect quality sleep are certain medications, alcoholic drinks, and tobacco used near bedtime, along with a heavy meal eaten within three hours of slumber. Also, having a television, radio, or other noisy distractions in the bedroom can be counterproductive. The key to healthy sleeping is to get enough, but not too much, and to take steps to improve the sleep quality.
There are a few ways to improve your sleeping habits and not get too much sleep. It is essential to minimize the use of caffeine, get enough exercise to raise the heart rate and body temperature, and get into the sunlight during the day. Keep night lighting to a minimum, and maintain a sleep schedule and morning routine, avoiding daytime napping. These things will help ensure a deeper and more quality sleep at night, which will cause one to wake the next morning feeling refreshed and energized.
The article is mostly focused on what a person can do for himself, but I think *parents* need to pay more attention to their children's sleep! Helping your children learn good habits from infancy is a gift you can give them.
When they are little, this is just a matter of helping them get to bed on time and keeping them on a good regular schedule. When they get to be teenagers, don't just ignore their sleep.
All those things that the article mentions, like getting sunlight during the day, are all things that parents can encourage their older children and teens to do to help them get appropriate sleep. (Sleep deprivation is probably more common with teens than too much sleep, but both are problems that parents should watch out for and both can cause or be symptoms of other problems.)
Excessive sleep can be a sign of health problems! My father was one of those people who sleep too much. He would sleep for twelve hours a night and still be so tired that he would take a nap.
Now, my father drinks too much and also takes medication for bipolar disorder and for ADHD, so we thought he was just over-medicated. Which of course was a problem in itself, but he seemed not willing to address it.
And then he finally agreed to get a sleep study. We had all known for years that he had sleep apnea -- it was obvious if you watched him -- but he hadn't gotten it checked out. Anyway, they fitted him for a CPAP machine and the difference was remarkable! He now sleeps for seven or eight hours and wakes refreshed.
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