How Much Sleep is Too Much and How Often it’s OK to Oversleep?

When the question “how much sleep do we need” comes up, sleep experts would have a bit of trouble giving a straight answer…

In other words – it depends on many factors, from age to genes to lifestyle and everything in between.

With that said, since I’m not here to complicate things, but rather to make them simple, I’d go ahead and give you the short answer, which is…

Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be at their best.

(If you’re looking for information about children’s and babies’ sleep go here)

Less than 7 hours would cause a build up of ‘sleep debt’.

If you sleep more than 8 hours, there is a very good chance that something isn’t right – either you sleep more than you really need, or you need more sleep than you should… What???

OK, let me explain.

Why You ‘Sleep Too Much’

If you feel that you need to sleep more than 8 hours every night (or most nights), there’s a good chance that it’s because either (or both):

1. You’re getting poor quality sleep (because of various factors, from unhealthy habits to a physical disorder, such as sleep apnea.)

2. Part of you chooses to oversleep.  In other words – you’re not motivated enough to get out of bed, so for lack of a better word – you force yourself to oversleep.

(These probably cover at least 95% of cases. You could be among the remaning 5%. That’s why you may want to consult your doctor, or ask an expert right now.)

In both of these cases, it’s likely that, no matter how long you sleep, you wake up feeling tired and groggy and maybe even carry that feeling all day long.

Is it That Bad to ‘Oversleep’?

Well, obviously it depends on how often and how long you oversleep…

Let’s put it this way. There are two main types of ‘over-sleepers’:

1. The casual over-sleeper oversleeps (9-12 hours sleep) only from time to time, usually on weekends or when they don’t have to wake up early. This is the least awful ‘kind’ of oversleeping. Still, I don’t recommend it, mainly because it damages your regular sleep schedule…

You oversleep on a day off –> you have trouble falling asleep early at night –> you wake up tired and are low on energy all day –> you either sleep the whole afternoon or carry that tiredness for a few more days…

In the long run this may cause constant tiredness and sleep problems. With time you may find that you oversleep more often than you’d like to, and soon enough you can become a ‘sleep addict’.

It’s best to avoid oversleeping at all times, but if you really want to allow yourself some extra sleep occasionally, at least try to limit yourself to up to 10 hours.

(TIP: The next day, in order to get back to your course, avoid napping in the afternoon. Instead, just start your night’s sleep a little bit earlier than usual.)

2. The sleep addict – sleeps whenever possible. On a day off? sure, but also simply every time that they can get away with it. How long? As long as possible. Sleep becomes their refuge, as if they prefer to sleep their life away.

Bottom line – either way, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to overcome your sleep addiction

I’ve created a 5 part email course titled ‘Supercharge Your Energy’. When you join (for free), you will also get a ‘Sleep Optimization Kit’- it will teach you simple ways to get a lot more energy from less sleep.

 

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14 Responses to “How Much Sleep is Too Much and How Often it’s OK to Oversleep?”

  1. Daniel says:

    please I will appreciate if you reply me. Am 23 yrs & not working what I do is sleeping always so help me.

  2. Naveen says:

    I have a problem in sleeping during night and waking up in the morning, sometime it goes extreme and i found my self woke whole night or slept till lunch.
    I feel so depressed about this. please help me out.

    • Rotem Cohen says:

      Well Naveen, there’s a lot of advice here, but I’d have to say that you should subscribe – to get the Sleep Optimization guide and my email course.

  3. Raj kumar says:

    I am a boy ..17 yrs…studying in 12th std…i used to be very active until my 10th…but for the last two years …i am going down…especially this year…even if i try to stay awake and concentrate in studies….i tend to sleep…i dont know which part of my body wants to sleep…i am seriously very angry at myself…but i am not able to help it…i feel so drowsy in the daytime even aftr 8-9 hrs sleep the night b4….nd so my self confidence level is going down drastically….plz plz suggest me a good way,….i seriously want to concentrate in studies nd get gud marks…

    • Rotem Cohen says:

      Raj, you need to do your best to create a consistent routine of going to sleep early and getting at least 8-9 hours of sleep. Do this every day, including weekends and give it a chance for at least 7 days before expecting any result. Of course, try to follow as many of my tips for better sleep.

  4. makubex says:

    im so glad to know that im not alone with this kind of problem. thanks for the articles I found the answer..

  5. Mary says:

    I sleep all the time, even when i wake i always think of an excuse in my head to go back to sleep. Today i woke about 10.30 then fell back asleep around 11 and then woke up about half 2,3 in the afternoon. Im 19 years old and iv had this problem since academy. I used to be late every day for school and then when i got home id sneek away and sleep again. Even when i lived abroad i would’nt get out of my bed till 5 in the evening. Iv slept all day and night b4. I hate that im like this, i have no motivation to do anything but in my head i want to do everything. I have so much i want to do and achieve but i cant because i love to sleep. I hate my life because of it and im loosing every1 that cares about me because of it, they hate me wasting my life away but dint understand that i honestly cant help it. I wish i was not like this. Any advice would be really appriciated.

    • Rotem Cohen says:

      Mary, since you didn’t mention the word “tired” even once, I can assume that your problem is purely motivational. I think you need to get some clarity about what you want out of life, you need to do some goal setting. You may want to try meditation – to clear your mind on a daily basis. There are thousands of great websites that can help you, but how can I not recommend that you start with my own… visit http://energyandmotivation.com

  6. Andrew says:

    Hey thanks for a lot of these articles!

    I’ve been very depressed for a few years and recently I’ve been doing something about it. At least walking outside 15-30 minutes each day in the morning, going to bed by at least 1 AM (I break that rule rarely) and waking up before 10:30 AM. I used to go to sleep around 2 and wake up around 11:30 and be groggy most of the day.

    So that’s all good, but there are times when I just don’t want to get up and am WAY too tired that I have to snooze my alarm clock on my cell phone for 10 minutes. Would you have any suggestions on that?

  7. David says:

    I have a father who sleeps at all possible occasions he has been using alcohol to sleep and does so regularly he is stopping the alcohol but i feel that he is losing the battle due to his sleep addiction any advice?

    • Rotem Cohen says:

      David, it sounds to me that your father is depressed, and using alcohol and sleep to escape reality. I wish I could help, but it has to come from him.

  8. prodigy says:

    What could be done to someone that sleeps and don’t wake up if they call him but until they tap or beat him?

    • Rotem Cohen says:

      Since you haven’t mentioned that he goes out drinking until late at night (or something like that), then I’d suggest that you gently present the idea that part of him chooses to stay asleep, as a way to escape reality.

    • Erica says:

      I have a friend who was like this as a teen. We literally had to pour water on him to wake him, and sometimes that didn’t work. In his early twenties he developed epilepsy. I cannot remember if their was a link to the two, but his inability to wake up was always so astonishing.

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