When it comes to sleep can having too much of it be a good thing? We all complain about NOT getting enough sleep. Every weekend, we foolishly try to sleep in to catch up with our sleep deficits accrued over a work week of sleeping poorly. So, getting too much sleep is a good thing, right?
No – it is not.
The amount of sleep varies among individual and with individuals. This means my sleep needs are different from yours. It also means that my need will vary over the course of my lifetime. I could need 8 hours to feel rested while you could need just 7 hours of restful sleep. In the course of my life, I might need 8 hours of sleep in my twenties and just 6.5 in my forties.
This being said, we cannot set an exact amount of time to say when a person is oversleeping. But, if we need to assign a value, it would be safe to say that most adults need anywhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Unless you have hypersomnia, a medical condition that causes oversleeping, it is not normal to constantly oversleep. Oversleeping can be as dangerous as not having enough sleep. Both conditions will make you feel sluggish and overly fatigued. Just like undersleeping, oversleeping messes with your concentration and memory. A 2011 University of London Sleep Study shows that both having too much or too little sleep causes memory decline, poor reflexes, and slower vocabulary. Both also cause a myriad of physical symptoms such as headaches, poor skin, eye bags, and weight loss or weight gain.
Psst…can I tell you a secret?
It’s no secret actually that when it comes to sleep (and many other facets of life), QUALITY over quantity is the way to go.
I’ve written about ways to get enough sleep here and here. They can be summed up by following the tips below:
- Practice good sleep hygiene – like sticking to a sleep schedule (same bedtime and same waketime everyday – resist sleeping in during weekends) and placing yourself in a sleep mindset (rituals before bed, e.g. brushing and getting into PJs, help put you in a sleep mindset.)
- Diet and Exercise – check your diet for hidden caffeine and sleep killers (e.g. spicy food). If you must have a midnight snack, snack lightly on Tryptophan rich food. Tryptophan and carbohydrate combinations such as milk and cereal, or cheese and crackers can help with sleep. And please, no caffeine so close to bedtime. Regular exercise improves circulation and is generally good for your health, that can’t be said enough.
- Make your bedroom conducive to sleep – a good mattress, good pillows, and comfy sheets would be a great help. Keep light sources out (yes, I’m talking about screens like TV screens and Kindles, or any disruptive light sources).
Good luck on your quest for the perfect amount of sleep. I hope you rest easy tonight and dream sweet dreams. As always, remember to: Stay Humble, Hustle Hard. Good luck!
Written by Jaie O.- The Help