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Oversleeping: Causes, Effects & Prevention

Tara Youngblood Nov 04, 2022

Effects of oversleeping

We’ve all heard the phrase, “too much of a good thing.”

Consuming too much food can cause weight gain, eating too much candy can lead to cavities, and even drinking too much water can be potentially harmful.

Sleeping longer than one should on a regular basis can be too much of a good thing as well.

Everyone knows that sleep plays a crucial role in our overall health, and skimping our sleep is never good. Less sleep can cause chronic diseases and make anyone feel sluggish and irritable throughout the day.

However, they may not realize that too much sleep can be dangerous to their overall health.

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What is Oversleeping?

Oversleeping, known as "hypersomnia, " occurs when a person sleeps more than nine hours within a 24-hour period. [1] This amount of sleep varies from person to person. For example, some individuals may only need six hours while others require a lot more..

Oversleeping doesn't affect individuals that need an extra hour or two of sleep and has no impact on those who need the extra sleep after a long trip, staying out late, recovering from illness, or even jet lag. Oversleeping takes place when somebody gets more sleep than their body needs, such as sleeping for 11 to 13 hours each night.

Is Too Much Sleep a Bad Thing?

Individual sleep needs vary, but those needs also alter based on age and gender. The best amount of sleep for each person varies from person to person. Sleeping often “here and there” typically isn't that bad for you.

Hours of Sleep Needed by Age

How many hours of sleep do we need? Well, the recommendations vary from person to person.

Below are recommendations for the amount of sleep needed:

  • Infants (ages 0 - 3 months): 14 -17 hours per day
  • Infants (ages 4 - 11 months): 12 - 15 hours per day
  • Toddlers (1 - 2 years old): 11 - 14 hours per day
  • Preschool (3 - 5 years old): 10 - 13 hours per day
  • School-Aged Children (6 - 13 years old): 9 - 11 hours per day
  • Teenagers (14 - 17 years old): 8 - 10 hours per day
  • Majority of Adults: 7 - 9 hours per day
  • Older Adults (65+): 7 -8 hours of sleep at night

Sleep Study: The Risk of Oversleeping "Too Much" [2]


Oversleeping Causes

Even though occasionally oversleeping is OK, regularly oversleeping may indicate a health issue. Oversleeping can result in a negative impact on a person’s well-being and physical health.

Oversleeping Health Conditions

Below are a few conditions to be aware of that may result in oversleeping:

  • Depression
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Certain Medication
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Pain
  • Obesity
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome

Other Causes of Oversleeping:

  • Environment Factors
  • Physical Injuries
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Time Zone
  • Lifestyle Factors

Read More: Idiopathic Hypersomnia

What Happens If You Sleep Too Much?

Oversleeping can indicate specific health problems. Sleeping too much can occur during spells of stress or sickness but eventually restores itself once those two factors wither away.

But longer-term health issues, such as heart disease or diabetes, can lead to chronic oversleeping and may affect sleep. [3] “Researchers are careful to note, however, that two other factors—depression and low socioeconomic status—are strongly associated with oversleeping,” according to a WebMD article.

Oversleeping Statistic: Roughly 15% of people with depression sleep too much or have difficulty sleeping.

Afterward, the article links the lower socioeconomic status with less access to healthcare, indicating that improperly treated (or untreated) illnesses can lead to oversleeping..

Organizations, including the National Sleep Foundation, are big supporters of the seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But if you're regularly sleeping more than nine hours and still feeling tired and fatigued, that indicates you're oversleeping.

We believe the better metric is always the quality of sleep. If you're concerned that you're oversleeping, take inventory of your current circumstances; if you're stressed or sick, work to address those elements first and see if a healthier sleep pattern returns.

If you oversleep for an extended period of time, it's recommended to see your doctor. That way, you can address any real medical conditions about your oversleeping concerns and ensure you don't have more severe disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or hypersomnia.

Impact of Oversleeping on Your Body

Similar to lack of sleep, oversleeping can negatively affect your overall health. The longer you sleep, the following complications can potentially occur, including:
  • Headaches
  • Frequent mental distress
  • Obesity
  • Back Pain
  • Lessen your body’s immune function
  • Can potentially worsen inflammation in the body
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Read More: What is Sleep Health and Why is it Important


How to Stop Oversleeping?

Breaking a habit of oversleeping can be challenging, especially if you've been doing it for an extended period. But if you want to prevent it, there's some good news! You can take specific steps to overcome the habit and achieve better sleep quality.

We've shared some practical tips and tricks to help you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. So, if you're ready to say goodbye to oversleeping, take a look at our tips on how to stop oversleeping.

Final Thoughts

If you can avoid oversleeping, it helps keep your sleep cycle on track. If you oversleep for short periods, find ways to manage stress, sleep deprivation, or illness before being too concerned. If you sleep too much for an extended period, you should contact your doctor to see if underlying issues are causing it or potential sleep disorders. In the end, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity.


[1] Kim, Y., Wilkens, L. R., Schembre, S. M., Henderson, B. E., Kolonel, L. N., & Goodman, M. T. (2013). Insufficient and excessive amounts of sleep increase the risk of premature death from cardiovascular and other diseases: the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Preventive medicine, 57(4), 377–385. View Study

[2] Léger D, Beck F, Richard JB, Sauvet F, Faraut B. The risks of sleeping "too much". Survey of a National Representative Sample of 24671 adults (INPES health barometer). PLoS One. 2014 Sep 16;9(9):e106950. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106950. PMID: 25226585; PMCID: PMC4165901.

[3] Parker, H. (2008, July 24). Physical Side Effects of Oversleeping. WebMD; WebMD. View Resource

[4] Carney, C. E., Buysse, D. J., Ancoli-Israel, S., Edinger, J. D., Krystal, A. D., Lichstein, K. L., & Morin, C. M. (2012). The consensus sleep diary: standardizing prospective sleep self-monitoring. Sleep, 35(2), 287–302. View Study

[5] Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (n.d.). View Resource