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Is Too Much Sleep Bad for You?

We know how a lack of sleep can affect our health but what about if you get too much sleep? Find out how too much shuteye can affect you.

A man asleep on a bed while hugging a pillow and holding a table clock with his left hand.

It goes without saying that getting enough sleep is important if you want to stay healthy. Ideally, you should aim for a #sleepgoal of seven to nine hours of sleep nightly to function optimally. But how much sleep is too much and is it possible to overdo it?  

Normally, sleeping too much can be thought of as a sign of ageing. But if you often wake up after more than nine hours of sleep, it may indicate a health condition. 

Here are a few reasons why you may be getting too much sleep and how you can get back to a normal sleeping pattern naturally.

So, What Exactly Does Too Much Sleep Indicate? 

Several physical and mental health conditions can make you prone to oversleeping including

If you’re experiencing a withdrawal from stimulants and the use of some antidepressants and recreational substances – alcohol, opioids, and cannabis – this can contribute to oversleeping.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), having too much sleep is thought to be a symptom of unrest within your body. 

“The main pathogenic factors associated with oversleeping are water retention, and a shortage of qi (vital life force) and yang (active) energy. Water retention is common in obese or overweight people, whereas poor digestion can lead to Spleen Qi Deficiency. Episodes of too much sleep due to a lack of yang energy may be accompanied by a feeling of coldness.” 

Eu Yan Sang Physician Kong Teck Chuan

Over time, getting too much sleep is more harmful than good. This is because it increases inflammatory markers that are associated with heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Alternative Treatments to Synchronise Your Circadian Rhythm  

At home, you can try these tips to cope with oversleeping and improve your sleep quality. These include: 

  • Holding yourself accountable: Establish a sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene by ensuring your bedroom is well-ventilated, dark, quiet, and comfortable.
  • Practicing self-control: A high alcohol intake interrupts your sleep cycle. Reducing it may help you sleep soundly throughout the night. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages before bed.
  • Taking prescription medications: Wakefulness-promoting agents may be the first line of treatment for oversleeping. If these medications fail to work, a healthcare provider may suggest you use psychostimulants or other types of medication.
A woman smiling gleefully as she looks up while standing outdoors.
Regular sunlight exposure is highly effective for enhancing the quality of your sleep.

If you find yourself frequently oversleeping for no apparent reason, speak to a doctor about it.

Achieve balance with herbal remedies 

For centuries, traditional herbal remedies have been used to address internal imbalances related to health conditions. Herbal ingredients can help prevent oversleeping by getting rid of pathogenic factors and promoting better organ system performance.

Some of these time-tested ingredients are: 

To add to the list, a tonic made from Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao, 冬虫夏草) may just be the pick-me-up your body needs if you’ve been working with minimal rest.

Physical rehabilitation through movement and stimulation 

Traditional therapies like Qigong – try the Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi, 五禽戏) or Eight Pieces of Brocade (Ba Duan Jin, 八段锦) routines – cupping, and acupuncture can encourage better sleep.

For acupuncture, a professional will target specific acupoints like:

  • Shen men (HT7, 神门)
  • San yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交): Regulates the Kidney, Liver, and Spleen organ systems.
  • Zu san li (ST36, 足三里): Strengthens the immune system against disease, and regulates the Spleen and stomach.
  • Bai hui (DU-GV20, 百会): Regulates brain functions, and yin and yang levels in the body.
  • Tai yang (EX-HN5, 太阳): Helps maintain focus, alleviates pain and fatigue, and rejuvenates the Spirit.

Find yourself sleeping a lot but not feeling rested? Too much sleep is just as detrimental to your health as not getting enough sleep. Avoid trying to compensate for lost sleep. Instead, take steps to balance your circadian rhythm.

If you want to try alternative treatments to boost your sleep quality, speak to a licensed practitioner beforehand.  

Looking to share tips that have helped you get a peaceful slumber every night? Tell us in the comments below. 

References

  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Oversleeping: Bad for Your Health? [online] [Accessed 7 February 2023]  
  2. National Sleep Foundation. 2022. Oversleeping. [online] [Accessed 7 February 2023]  
  3. The Sleep Doctor. 2022. Why is Inflammation Worse at Night? [online] [Accessed 7 February 2023] 
  4. Cleveland Clinic. Hypersomnia. [online] [Accessed 7 February 2023] 

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