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The Health Risks of Oversleeping



While numerous people are having difficulty in sleeping across the world, oversleeping appears a health problem that everyone may desire to have. Oversleeping! That sounds great actually. 

To begin with, we need to specify when we should consider oversleeping as a health problem since we all, from now and again, exceed our average sleep duration due to various reasons. Sometimes for indulging ourselves sometimes for coping with a disease such as flu. Actually, oversleeping is considered a medical problem when it becomes a habit. 

Nearly, all of us could have indicated that at least, a couple of symptoms emerge in the case of sleep deprivation such as irritability, fatigue, lack of concentration and so on. 

Just as sleep deprivation, oversleeping too is a sleep disorder that might be as harmful as sleep deprivation even though the latter is less famous. There are many health problems associated with oversleeping. For this reason, the oversleeping problem shouldn’t be overlooked by individuals.

In the medical world, oversleeping is called “hypersomnia“. The sound may smell familiar. Just because many of us have heard about insomnia ( inability to get enough sleep ) and some of us have experienced it at one point. 

Hypersomnia is thought to affect 4% to 6% of the general population. Furthermore, this sleep disorder is more prevalent in men. 

How Much Sleep is Too Much? 

There is no precise answer to this question. Because the amount of sleep an individual needs varies based on many factors. For instance; age, diseases, medications, pregnancy and so on. Therefore, once again, it is safe to say that the ” right ” amount of sleep shows alteration from person to person.

According to doctors; as long as the amount of sleep is not less than 7 and more than 9 hours, there is nothing to worry about the length of sleep. Of course, it only applies to adults. Infants and children need more sleep. 

However, we sometimes sleep more than 9 hours due to various reasons. After all, spending more time on weekends the bed after a busy and stressful week is everyone’s right. Or, sleeping more than 10 hours to overcome the flu or a heavy common cold is totally understandable. 

Where the problem begins, according to most experts; is when a person sleeps more than 9 hours ( whatever the reason) on a regular basis. In this case, the situation is called ” hypersomnia “.

What Causes Oversleeping? 

There are many possible causes for oversleeping. However, as I emphasised a few times, the condition that continues for a long time is our concern. Therefore, what is being said here is not about occasionally oversleeping. 

Experts point out depression as the main culprit in oversleeping issues. Especially in this modern age in which depression is quite prevalent, oversleeping is likely to befall individuals. Therefore, oversleeping is always considered as one of the main symptoms of depression. In addition to these, depression may also cause the exact opposite situation “insomnia “. 

 Alcohol and certain substances are other strong factors that may bring about oversleep. Especially, alcohol consumption can lower the quality of sleep at night. Consequently, the body requires extra hours of sleep to feel fully rested. That indicates more time on the bed.

From time to time, oversleeping can befall individuals as a result of some prescription medicines’ side effects. Particularly, sedatives ( generally used for mental problems ) can cause drowsiness and fatigue and consequently oversleeping. 

Sleep apnea is another factor that may result in sleeping long hours. To define it briefly, sleep apnea is a disorder that disrupts sleep during the night. Individuals’ breathing — in people with sleep apnea — momentarily stops then starts. As a result, this disrupted sleep at night leads individuals to sleep more in the morning to compensate. 

The Health Risk of Oversleeping 

It bears repeating that, from time to time, we all sleep long hours for various reasons and then catch the normal sleep cycle. However, oversleeping issue stays with some of us for an extended period of time. This being the case, this sleep disorder increases the risk of developing certain health problems. The followings are the medical problems that may occur due to oversleeping.

 Memory Problems 

Not only oversleepers but also people with insomnia encounter many cognitive problems. Memory impairment is of these negative effects of oversleeping. For instance, people who suffer from oversleeping problems are mentally more tired compared to those who generally take approximately 8-hour long good night’s sleep.

As a consequence of this tiredness in the brain, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases according to neurologists.

Type-2 Diabetes 

We knew that sleep deprivation is one of the risk factors for type-2 diabetes, however, more and more studies are suggesting that too much shut-eye too can increase significantly the risk of type-2 diabetes.

According to one of these studies; staying in the bed two hours more than your normal sleep duration might increase the risk for type-2 diabetes. More inactivity caused by oversleeping is the building block of this relationship ( diabetes and oversleeping ). And, we should remind ourselves that diabetes is one of the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. 


Not being able to sleep is advantageous compared to sleeping long hours in terms of decreasing the risk of stroke. The reason I am saying that is related to a scientific study; that claims those who sleep too much ( more than 9 hours ) and those who take 90-minute or longer naps each day, carry significant stroke risk.

In the same study, it is being said that; a person who sleeps more than nine hours per night and takes naps for more than 90 minutes, is 80 per cent more susceptible to stroke compared to those the people who have normal sleep patterns.

This significant increase in the possibility of a stroke is attributed to increased inflammations and weight gain thanks to oversleeping although it is not yet certain.


This one is common among those who sleep long hours due to several reasons, for instance, long-dated tiredness or sleep deprivation or sickness. In the case of these circumstances, we all may need a long night’s sleep up to 11-12 hours. Nonetheless, as a result of that long sleep duration, the body may become deprived of water, food or maybe nicotine, hence, causing headaches.

Additionally, experts warn us about the change in the serotonin production in the brain as a result of too much shut-eye. This change too might set off headaches.  

Thirdly, people who are prone to taking a nap may encounter difficulty in sleeping at night. As a result of impaired night sleep, headaches can bother individuals.

Briefly, oversleeping can be the main culprit of headaches.


This one is relatively easy to predict. Because long term oversleeping habit means longer hours ( nearly motionless)  in the bed for 9 hours or more. 

For instance, if a person has a 5-year or longer history of oversleeping, the person has approximately 20 per cent more chance to become obese. This is attributed to the changed body stores fat.

Therefore, as the research says; oversleep can set the stage for obesity just as long term sleep insufficiency does.

Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.

Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.

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