Is it possible to sleep too much?


Just when is too much sleep a bad thing? Our sleep expert answers your questions on when too much sleep could be a sign of other medical problems.

Q: I think I sleep too much!

I'm a guy attending college, I really have this problem of sleeping too much. I can sleep up to even 13 hours, and am always very tired when I wake up, tempting me to sleep even more. I don't really do anything that can exhaust my body, nothing, just going to college for 4 or 5 hours and back home. I always sleep in the afternoon and am always wide awake at night, is there something wrong with me? Please help because think I have a very big problem. 

Expert:  Yes there is! You should not be tired after sleeping that number of hours. This means there is a problem with the quality of your sleep. You will need to be assessed by a sleep doctor, and you will probably need some sleep tests.

Q: Too much sleep?

Is it possible to have too much sleep? During the holidays now I slept like 12hr nights, and sometimes napped in the afternoon as well. So sleeping 1am-1pm and then like 3pm-6pm.  Now that I'm back at varsity I have late nights and early mornings which I was used to before holidays but then by the time I get home I am exhausted and nap again for like 2hours. Is there a way to break this? Am I sleeping too much or what is the issue here?

Expert: Your problem is that, like most students, you are sleeping too little during the term, and thus had to catch up on vacation. Try to sleep more during term time, otherwise you end up with a huge sleep debt, which gets repaid over weekends and holidays.

Q: Nausea and sleeping too much

For the last 2 weeks I have been sleeping about 15 hours a day. When I am up and moving, my tummy feels terrible, but once I lay down everything is fine. Over the last 5 days I have been completely nauseous, can't even brush my teeth without wanting to vomit. It seems to be getting worse.

Expert: You need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Constant nausea can be caused by abdominal problems such as peptic ulcers or gastrointestinal infections, middle ear problems such as vertigo, or certain brain conditions such as meningitis and brain tumours. This needs to be examined so that you can get the right treatment for this.

Q: Too much sleep?

Is there such a thing as too much sleep? I am 27 and sleep at least 8 hours every night (I am exhausted by the time I go to bed). My Dad always complains that "I' m so young, but so tired'. Is he right? I get up at 4:20am in the morning, leave the house at 5am. Then I leave work at 3pm and go to gym. After that I go home and play/bath/feed my two kids. How much sleep should I be getting then if 8 hours is too much? My Dad says I am tired because I sleep too much?

Expert: 8 hours is not too much - it is good to get enough sleep. However, you may have an underlying iron or Vit B deficiency with anaemia, or an underactive thyroid. Please go for a medical check-up so that your doctor can have a look.

Send your questions about sleep to our Sleep Expert

Read more:

Sleep addiction

Too much, too little sleep linked to heart woes

(Health24, April 2012. Updated August 2015)

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