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Excessive Sleeping During the Day: Is it a Sleep Disorder?

Excessive Sleeping During the Day: Is it a Sleep Disorder?

by

Aoife O.
 | 
Dec 04, 2020

A good night’s sleep, healthy diet, fresh air, and drinking clean water every day are essential ingredients to a healthy happy life. When one or more of these elements is disturbed, it can affect your physical health and mental wellbeing.


Sleep disorders such as insomnia, hypersomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc. steal quality rest and exacerbates current illnesses. If you’re taking many day time naps, having difficulty sleeping at night, and experiencing excessive sleepiness during your waking hours, you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Let’s talk about excessive sleeping, what it means, and how you can get better sleep tonight.


Why Do We Need Sleep?

Sleep is essential to a healthy mind and body. Sleep deprivation research has shown that lack of sleep makes people emotionally volatile, irritable, short tempered, and ill. As you sleep, your body goes into repair mode, recharging your energy, building muscle, storing memories, replenishing hormone levels, and fighting any illness.


Any disruptions to your sleep schedule cause an imbalance in your system and puts pressure on your central nervous system. You become exhausted, unable to focus on work or daily tasks, become short tempered with loved ones, and crave more sugar to get you through the day.


Symptoms of Daytime Somnolence

That said, there is such thing as getting too much sleep, and drowsiness during the day can affect your health, productivity, and quality of life. A few signs of somnolence (excessive sleepiness) and hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness) include:

  • Yawning throughout your waking hours
  • Headaches
  • Feeling agitated for no reason
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Being short tempered with loved ones
  • Difficulty concentrating or learning new skills
  • Eating more sugary foods or lack of appetite
  • Hallucinations

Learn more about sleep deprivation here.


Recommended Sleep Schedule

How much sleep is "normal" or healthy? The CDC recommends the following for each age group:

Age Group

Hours

Teenagers

8-10 hours

Adults

7-9 hours

Seniors

7-8 hours 


Is Sleeping During the Day Bad?

Your circadian rhythm is dictated by light and darkness, seeing the sunlight peer through your curtains in the morning alerts your system to ‘wake up’. As dusk descends in the evening, you begin to feel sleepy and prepare for your 8 hours of sleep. Fighting this natural rhythm has detrimental effects on physical health. If you are awake all night and sleeping during the day, you may find your natural immune defense is low and you’re picking up colds and flu quicker than normal. Your blood pressure, blood sugar levels could be at unhealthy levels, and your metabolism might be slow, so you’re gaining weight. If you have trouble sleeping at night, tired but cant sleep at night, and sleeping a lot during day time hours, you could have a sleep disorder or other medical condition. The occasional day time nap is not harmful but sleeping during the day effects hormone levels, tissues and organs don’t receive their messages and illness ensues, such as diabetes and obesity.


What Causes Excessive Sleeping?

  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Recovering from surgery or illness
  • Some medications


About Sleep Disorders

Insomnia

  • Causes: Insomnia may be caused by stress, jet lag, some medications, caffeine, and health conditions

  • Symptoms: Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired, feeling anxious at night, unable to quieten your mind

  • Possible Treatments: Physical exercise especially cardio and strength training, setting a regular sleep schedule, sleeping in a dark bedroom, no electronics in the bedroom

Hypersomnia

  • Causes: Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, drug or alcohol abuse, injury to the central nervous system, or genetic disposition

  • Symptoms: Daytime drowsiness, waking up during the night, poor memory, low energy, restlessness, anxiety, slow speech

  • Possible Treatments: Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, fresh air, and diet changes, antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Sleep Apnea

  • Causes: Sleep apnea may be caused by obesity, having a narrowed airway, being a smoker, some underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, lung disease, diabetes

  • Symptoms: Loud snoring, intermittent loss of breath during sleep, gasping for air as you sleep, waking with a dry mouth, insomnia, hypersomnia, morning headache

  • Possible Treatments: Losing weight from physical exercise especially cardio and strength training, CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) machine for a continuous airflow as you sleep, stop smoking, limit alcohol and sedatives

Narcolepsy

  • Causes: Narcolepsy is caused by hypocretin (brain chemical) deficiency which regulates sleep, severe psychological stress, hormone changes, genetics

  • Symptoms: Excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, sudden loss of muscle tone

  • Possible Treatments: Avoid caffeine, schedule your sleep periods, wear a medical alert bracelet, eat a healthy diet, prescribed medication


Tips to Stop Sleeping During the Day

  • Create a comfortable nighttime sleep space by upgrading your mattress and bedding if needed
  • Avoid working in your bedroom
  • Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule
  • Exercise regularly, cardio and strength training especially
  • Eat healthy food and drink water every day
  • Enjoy fresh air everyday, even a short walk can be enough to make you feel better
  • Nap before 1pm if you must
  • Don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy


Tips for Sleeping During the Day

  • It’s best for day sleepers to nap on the couch, keep your bed reserved for night time sleep
  • Keep naps to maximum 20 minutes and always before 1pm
  • Turn off electronics and put your phone on flight mode
  • Drink herbal teas instead of caffeine
  • Don't feel discouraged if you can’t fall asleep, the rest is beneficial


FAQs

How Do You Fight Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia could be eased with regular exercise and cleaning your diet. Walking in the park, enjoying fresh air and drinking water everyday is a good start to easing any illness. Your doctor may prescribe you antidepressant medication or other stimulant. Avoid daytime naps after 1pm and create a calm and comfortable sleep space.

Why Can't I Stop Sleeping?

Excessive sleeping could be caused by a sleep disorder or another underlying medical condition. Healing from surgery or illness, some medications, jetlag, new work or study schedule, and obesity can cause excessive sleepiness. See your doctor for a full checkup, clean up your diet, and take exercise everyday to boost your energy.

What Causes Difficulty Sleeping?

Difficulty in sleeping at night can be caused by a sleep disorder, underlying medical condition, medication, adjusting to a new work/study schedule, traveling, drinking too much alcohol or smoking too much. If you’re experiencing regular insomnia, ask your doctor for a checkup, clean your diet, drink lots of water, and exercise regularly.

What Makes You Tired While Sleeping?

Feeling sleepy at night occurs for the same reason you perk up upon seeing the sunlight in the morning. Your circadian rhythm is your internal body clock that tells you when it's time to go to bed and get up. Good quality sleep every night replenished your internal systems, keeping you strong, healthy, and full of daytime energy.

Why Am I Sleeping So Much During the Day?

Trouble sleeping at night and excessive daytime sleeping could be the result of a sleep disorder such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or another underlying medical condition. Ask your doctor for a full checkup and ensure you’re eating healthy food, taking regular exercise, drinking water, and minimizing stress with meditation and enjoying fresh air every day.

Conclusion

Some sleeping disorders, particularly insomnia, sleep apnea, hypersomnia, and narcolepsy could be greatly eased by implementing an exercise routine. Cardio and strength training is advised but a simple walk in the park every day is great too. Being in the sun, enjoying fresh air is invigorating. Ensure your diet is clean, lots of protein, fish, vegetables, and drink plenty of water. A healthy diet and daily exercise are the basis of good physical and sleep health.


Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and sugar if you can, or at least limit your intake. A sleeping illness can have some nasty side effects and steal joy from your life. Being irritable with loved ones, decreased concentration, poor health are all consequences of sleeping during the day and awake at night. If you find you’re sleeping a lot during the day, consult your doctor to check for underlying health conditions. Combat sleep restlessness by creating a comfortable sleep space, sticking to a sleep schedule, and implementing a sleep hygiene routine that calms you at night before bed.

Disclaimer: Nolah does not provide medical advice. All resources on the Nolah blog, including this article, are informational only and do not replace professional medical counsel. Talk to your doctor about any health, mental health, or sleep-related issues.

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