Is It Possible to Get Too Much Sleep?

The advice you usually get is to make sure to get enough sleep. We have all heard that our faculties can be impaired if we don’t. But have you ever wondered what would happened if you got too much sleep, and if that is even possible?

It seems no matter what your goal – weight loss, quitting smoking, beating depression and anxiety – experts recommend getting a healthy amount of sleep. This usually means 7-9 hours per night. This 8-hour “sweet spot” has been the recommendation for ages and is based on research that proves people function at their best when they get this amount of sleep. It’s not too little, not too much.

So, the simple answer is yes, just like you can get too little sleep, you can also get too much. Read on to find out about how getting too much sleep can affect your health and well-being. For professional health regarding your sleep schedule and habits, contact the top sleep specialist in New York, Dr. Shukla.

Impaired Brain Functioning & Mental Health


Cognitive performance peaks when you sleep for around seven hours. Longer sleep leads to memory impairments and decreased cognitive function.

Degenerative Disease

Studies have shown that getting too little or too much sleep can affect your chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease. A large Spanish study found that people who sleep for too long may be at risk for developing dementia.

Depression & Mental Health

People who sleep longer are more likely to report longer lasting cases of depression and anxiety than others. Some research shows that disruptions in the body’s sleep clock are a sign of mental illness; but if you can return your body to a normal sleep pattern, this can help in healing.

Increased Inflammation Factors

Chronic inflammation has been linked with everything from heart disease to diabetes to Alzheimer’s Disease. One factor that has been shown to increase inflammation in the body is oversleeping. Inflammation in the body is measured by levels of CRP. One study found that CRP levels increased by 8% for every extra hour of sleep after the 7-8-hour norm.


Sleeping in has been linked with what is known as “weekend headaches.” These are migraine or tension headaches that are brought on by too much sleep, and possibly also affected by caffeine withdrawal and the letdown from a stressful week.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Glucose tolerance is related to insulin resistance and diabetes. It has to do with the way your body processes carbs and sugars and uses them for energy. People with longer or shorter sleep durations are more likely to develop impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes than those with a 7-8-hour sleep span.

Weight Gain

In a six-year Canadian study, researchers found that people who slept for more than nine hours were 21% more likely than normal sleepers to become obese during the study.

Higher All-Cause Mortality Risk

In addition to all other associated health issues like obesity, heart disease, and stroke, longer-than-normal sleeping is linked with higher risk of death in general.

Chicken or Egg?

When researchers look at the data on oversleeping, the question of whether illness causes people to oversleep, or oversleeping causes the illness, is an important one. These are some of these factors they consider:

• Some studies indicate that an overly sedentary lifestyle could trigger certain problems, while other times the desire for more rest could be a result of “co-occurring processes.”
• Some researchers suggest that the healthiest people simply need less rest while less healthy people need more rest due to known or undiagnosed problems.
• A review of controlled studies on extended sleep found that when adults sleep too long, they report more fatigue, irritability, and lethargy – which prompts them to sleep even more.
Research on young adults who spent an extra two hours per night in bed showed that they felt more depressed, had more soreness and back pain, and higher markers of inflammation.

Tips to Prevent Oversleeping

• Select your optimal number of sleep hours to function at your best.
• Then, determine your WAKE TIME, likely based on your work schedule or family demands.
• GET UP at the SAME TIME EVERY DAY, including weekends.
• Put your alarm clock across the room. When it rings, GET UP. NO snooze buttons.
• Go to bed at the SAME TIME EVERY NIGHT, within about 1/2-hour range.
• COMMIT to this for at least 2 weeks, with a goal of 4, then reevaluate your sleep and wake times.

Sleep Specialist in New York

Dr. Mayank Shukla at Sleep Dr. NYC is Board Certified in sleep medicine. As the top sleep specialist in New York, Dr. Shukla specializes in the treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, parasomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Contact him today at (212)661-7077

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