Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Brenda from Lexington, IL. Brenda Wonders, “How can we sleep at night and wake up feeling tired?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Brenda!
*Yawn!* *Stretch!* Do you ever wake up and wish you just could close your eyes for a few more minutes? Maybe even another hour? We're often tempted to stay up later than we should to finish that television show, play that game, or listen to that song. The next morning, though, is when we pay for those decisions!
For many of us, it seems like we often go about our daily routines on a deficit of sleep. We know we should get more sleep, but there are just so many things to get done. So many things demand our time and attention. Sleep is often what we sacrifice in our busy lives.
Throughout the week, we often wake up tired day after day. When the weekend gets here, we sleep in on a Saturday or Sunday morning. When we finally get up, though, we often find that we're still tired and not quite caught up on sleep. It seems like there's no such thing as too much sleep!
Despite what many of us experience on a daily and weekly basis, scientists would tell you that there definitely is such a thing as too much sleep. But how much sleep is too much? Researchers usually define chronic oversleeping as getting more than nine hours of sleep per night on a regular basis.
For years, experts have told people that eight hours of sleep each night was what most people need. Recently, studies have suggested that people might only need seven hours of sleep each night. Other experts disagree, however. Many researchers still believe that most people, especially athletes and those who exercise regularly, can benefit from eight or more hours of sleep each night.
For those who experience chronic oversleeping, it can actually reach the level of a medical disorder known as hypersomnia. Hypersomnia has been linked to a wide variety of serious medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and death.
Scientists who study hypersomnia point out that there is still much that they don't know about the condition. For example, they haven't yet been able to establish exactly what is the cause and what is the effect between hypersomnia and the related conditions.
In other words, researchers are still not sure whether hypersomnia causes these related conditions or whether these related conditions arose first and led to hypersomnia. Regardless of cause and effect, hypersomnia is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
People who suffer from hypersomnia often experience extreme sleepiness throughout the day. Even occasional naps don't seem to help. This leads to low energy, high anxiety, and forgetfulness.
If you suffer from hypersomnia, it's critical that you see a doctor. There are some causes that can be treated easily. For example, a disorder known as sleep apnea often causes oversleeping, because it interrupts the normal sleep cycle. Treating the sleep apnea can lead to normal sleep patterns.
Likewise, certain medications and other medical conditions can lead to oversleeping, and treating the causes can lead to a return to normal sleeping patterns over time.