Do you wake up and the first thing you do is hit the snooze button? Then, you hit it again? Do you wake up tired even though you sleep a lot? Does it seem like there is nothing you can do to stop oversleeping?
If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, you are not the only person struggling. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed in its time use survey that the average American over fifteen years old sleeps at night for 8 hours and 43 minutes. The number of people that constantly oversleep grows every year.
Oversleeping leads to sleep debt, which leads to numerous health issues. Knowing how to stop oversleeping helps protect the body and fortunately, for most people it is easier to do than they initially think.
To help you stop oversleeping, here is what you need to know.
How Much Should You Sleep?
This is the very first question you need to ask yourself. According to the National Sleep Foundation, based on age, here are the number of hours of sleep needed every single day (including naps):
- Seniors – 7 to 8 hours
- Adults – 7 to 9 hours
- Teenagers – 8 to 10 hours
- School-age children – 9 to 11 hours
- Preschool-age children – 10 to 13 hours
- Toddlers – 11 to 14 hours
- Infants – 12 to 15 hours
- Newborn babies – 14 to 17 hours
Why Does Oversleeping Appear?
Numerous people associate oversleeping with laziness but this is rarely the case. Numerous factors can lead to oversleeping. Some oversleep because they sleep too little or too much. Others suffer from a medical condition or a sleeping disorder and oversleeping is just a symptom.
Hypersomnia is the medical name of the condition we know as oversleeping. It is also commonly known as “long sleeping”. Right now, this condition affects around 2% of people. When you have hypersomnia, the body needs 10 to 12 hours of good sleep every night.
Typically, hypersomnia appears during childhood. This is why when you just started having problems with your sleep, it is most likely due to other causes. This can include lifestyle factors or health conditions. The most common health conditions that lead to oversleeping are:
- Problems with the thyroid gland
- Problems with the heart
- Sleep apnea
Also, there are some medications that cause oversleeping and you should be aware of the fact that oversleeping can lead to memory problems, low energy, and anxiety.
When you suffer from a sleeping disorder, there is a very good possibility that you will need to go to a doctor and medication might be necessary. However, even if a disorder does not exist, regular oversleeping negatively impacts health. It can lead to different complications like heart disease, diabetes, back pain, headaches, and depression.
In order to solve a problem, you need to first be sure that you actually have it. This is why the best thing you can do is to go to the doctor whenever sleepiness symptoms last for over 6 weeks. The doctor asks specific questions about lifestyle habits, sleep habits, health history, and medications. Then, if necessary, a physical exam is conducted.
When oversleeping is identified as a symptom of a medical condition, the condition is treated. When there is no link found between a medical condition and hypersomnia, the doctor can recommend different things, like:
- Using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale – This can be done by you alone to rate sleepiness.
- Taking a polysomnogram – This means staying overnight in a room at a sleep clinic while attached to a monitor in order to measure eye movement, brain activity, heart rate, leg movement, and more.
- Keeping a sleeping diary – Necessary to record sleep habits. Examples of what is put in include things like when you wake up and when you go to sleep.
Actionable Advice To Stop Oversleeping
Most people look for remedies for oversleeping or try to learn how to not oversleep with the use of medication. Drugs should only be prescribed by a doctor and you should never take anything without medical supervision. It is always better to focus on prevention. Educate yourself on the causes for oversleeping and how to control oversleeping.
If you have been experiencing hypersomnia, here are some highly-effective actionable tips to follow.
Change Alarm Habits
Most people use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. The truth is that when you learn how to stop oversleeping, alarms have to be seen as tools that you do not need. Regardless of oversleeping causes, using the alarm clock is not necessary. A much better use of the clock is to set an alarm so you remember when you have to go to sleep.
Instead of using regular alarm clocks, use some that force you to do something else than hit a button. Examples include:
- Doing physical exercises before the alarm is turned off.
- Taking money out of your account if you do not wake up in time.
- Donate cash to a hated organization when you press the snooze button.
It needs to be added that as soon as you wake up, the most important step is to get out of bed. The alarm clock gives you an excuse to sleep more. Vital REM sleep is lost when the snooze button is hit. Also, the same rules need to be applied to the smartphone’s alarm.
Create A Pleasant Routine To Follow When You Wake Up
The morning routine needs to be positive so that you can actually look forward to the process of waking up. Morning light exposure helps you to get up and actually move around. Install a timer to turn on bedroom lights when you wake up and as you get out of bed, the first thing to do is to open curtains so that natural light comes in and you get a great view.
Some other things that you can do in order to improve your morning wake up routine include:
- Changing the alarm sound if you use one
- Disable the snooze option on your smartphone
- Regularly exercise during the day and schedule yoga in the morning
Do Not Oversleep During Weekends
One of the easiest ways to get as much sleep as the body needs is to get used to a schedule. When you wake up at the same time every single day, your body gets used to the process. This is why you also have to go to bed at the same time at night.
A very common problem is that people oversleep during the weekend. They do not have to go to work in the morning so they just sleep more than the body needs. In time, this leads to health problems and guaranteed oversleeping. The sleep schedule that you create needs to be respected every single day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Taking a nap during the day is often done in order to re-energize. Unfortunately, when you take these naps, you end up feeling overtired. This is especially true when the nap is not actually needed. Naps easily lead to us getting way too much sleep.
The circadian rhythm of the human body is made out of a number of hours of sleep and then a long cycle of full wakefulness. Naps are not a part of it.
Change Your Night-Time Routine
Before you go to bed, you have to relax. Fortunately, numerous calming activities can be considered. They do wonders in helping you sleep better at night. Some examples of activities that you can include in your night-time routine and that help you relax include sleep meditation, listening to calming music, ASMR sounds, reading, taking a warm bath, and drinking herbal teas without caffeine.
Start A Sleep Diary
As already mentioned, after a visit to the doctor to deal with oversleeping, the medical professional might recommend that you keep a sleep diary. You can also do this yourself when you learn how to prevent oversleeping.
Recording every single night’s sleep. Use a journal to track how much you sleep and make notes of the quality of your sleep. The journal also helps determine the factors that negatively affect sleep. Take a note about every single noise you hear, how you sleep, what you drink, and what you eat before you go to bed.
The big advantage of the sleep diary is that you can notice habits and patterns that negatively affect the quality of your sleep.
Do Not Be Exposed To Blue Light Before Going To Sleep
Reading before you go to bed is a good idea because it relaxes you. However, reading a book on a smartphone is not recommended when you have any sleeping problem. This is because of blue light, which is what comes out of electronic devices. At the same time, using tablets, computers, or smartphones can distract you as you receive real-time notifications.
Blue wavelengths are good during the day as they boost reaction times, your mood, and attention. This is also why blue light is bad for you before you go to sleep.
If you absolutely have to use an electronic device before sleep, use an app to reduce blue light. For instance, use f.lux for your computer. The app automatically reduces blue light coming out of your monitor based on your sleeping habits. Simply put, when it is time to go to bed, the blue light emitted by the monitor is gradually reduced.
Build A Perfect Sleeping Environment
There is a reason why bedrooms designed by top interior decorators get really dark. The use of dark curtains that do not allow light to pass is common for a reason: they help you to sleep better at night.
When the room you sleep in is too cold, too hot, there are distracting noises, or there is artificial light, you will struggle when it is time to sleep. The most important factors to take into account are:
- Temperature – The ideal temperature in your bedroom when you go to bed is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (this is 16 to 18 degrees Celsius). A slightly higher temperature is needed for the elderly and for children. If the temperature does not get too low, consider leaving windows open so you can maximize the circulation of cool air.
- Lighting – As your body sees light, there is a natural assumption that it is time to get up. If the room is dark, melatonin is released. This relaxes you and makes it easier to sleep.
- Comfort – The most important part of your bedroom when it comes to the quality of your sleep is the bed. You cannot get a good night’s sleep if the bed is uncomfortable. The mattress needs to offer the support, space, and comfort you need or you will wake up more tired than when you went to sleep.
- Noise – Repetitive, sudden, or loud noises will interrupt your sleep. This is why double-glazing windows are preferred. At the same time, remember that white noise is beneficial so you might want to consider it when you try to sleep.
Last but not least, it is imperative that you reduce overthinking before bedtime. This, together with worrying can easily keep you up at night. The problem is that it is very difficult to stop overthinking. This is not something that can be done out of the blue.
Allow yourself the needed time to implement change and prevent oversleeping by reducing how much you worry about things. Professional help may be needed if overthinking does not stop, no matter what you do.
Dealing with sleep problems can be daunting. This is true regardless of why it appears, ranging from sleep apnea to overthinking. Fortunately, oversleeping can be avoided. It can also be prevented. Follow the tips mentioned above and remember that the most important thing is to focus on prevention.
Also, it is important to remember the fact that oversleeping is often a symptom of sleep disorders. If you have sleeping problems for a long time and they are not solved, no matter what you try, make sure that you go to the doctor. Medical conditions have to be treated or it is impossible to deal with oversleeping and what you suffer from will only get worse.
When you have problems as you fall asleep, react fast.