Oversleeping: A Sign of Depression?

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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

It has been drilled into our minds how important it is to get a good night’s sleep but what if you are sleeping too much? Believe it or not, oversleeping can be a sign of depression. Unfortunately, because insomnia is discussed so much in the media, most people do not know that their heavy sleeping habits could be a sign of something wrong.

The Causes of Oversleeping

Oversleeping can be caused by Hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is a medical disorder that causes people to feel extremely groggy and sleepy throughout the day regardless of how much sleep they had the night before.  This condition causes people to sleep for super long periods of time at night but oversleeping can lead to feelings of anxiety, low energy levels and memory problems.

Another more known condition is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. Interruptions in sleep interrupts a person’s sleep cycle several times throughout the night. Because our bodies need to reach that state of deep state of sleep to feel energized, a person with sleep apnea can feel extremely deprived of sleep even after sleeping for hours on end.

Of course not everyone that oversleeps suffers from a medical condition! Personally, I know I’ve have days where I sleep in til noon after a long week and lack of rest. Often we play “catch up” and attempt to make up for hours of sleep we were unable to obtain throughout the busy week. It is important to be aware, however, if the habit continues for long periods of time.

Oversleeping has been known to cause or be associated with:

  • Headaches
  • Obesity
  • Back Pain
  • Diabetes

Additionally, there are psychological side effects that result from oversleeping.

Psychological Effects of Oversleeping

Only 15% of  people with depression oversleep. The rest suffer from insomnia but oversleeping should not be taken lightly.  There are many side effects of oversleeping that vary from person to person. Most people who oversleep due to depression often do not realize that they are trying to “escape reality” or sleep their problems away.

  • People who oversleep experience headaches which are caused by the effect neurotransmitters have on the brain.
  • Oversleeping can cause people to feel tired and angry especially when they are trying to improve their  sleeping patterns. It is important to take it one day at a time.
  • People who oversleep are usually less motivated and feel like they have “wasted” their entire day.
  • Because oversleeping increases drowsiness, it is more likely for people to continue to oversleep the next day.

Oversleeping and Bipolar Disorder

Oversleeping is a very common symptom for those with Bipolar Disorder.  People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder are highly encouraged to maintain a mood journal that keeps track of their sleep patterns.

  • People with bipolar disorder should monitor their sleep ensure they have a regular sleep routine.
  • Sleep disturbances are a major symptom of both mania and depression and changes of sleep can be a warning sign of a mood change.
  • People with bipolar have extremely sensitive circadian systems which make it difficult to recover if their sleep patterns are disturbed.
  • Sleep is just one factor in the complex issue of bipolar disorder and circadian rhythm.
  • Bipolar disorder is a circadian rhythm disorder so it is seriously affected by changes in sleep pattern. Having a regular sleep pattern with bipolar disorder is critical.

If you do oversleep, you can try treating yourself by changing your sleep patterns. Studies have shown that decreasing the amount of sleep you get can help combat the nasty side effects of oversleeping. Take it day by day.

Personally, I try and exercise on days where I feel like snoozing.  I find that when I am more productive, I am more satisfied emotionally than on days I stay in bed all day. Even if you do not suffer from insomnia, it is important to monitor how your sleep habits can affect your mental and emotional state.

If you suffer from oversleeping and feel like it may be due to depression, seek guidance for your condition. It is important to not take symptoms like oversleeping lightly. It could be a sign of something darker going on and you might not even realize. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135