Sunday, 5 June 2016

Oversleeping: still doing it

I've been doing great at not shopping so far, but I'm not doing so well at breaking one of my other bad habits: sleeping too much on weekends. 

This weekend was the first test of my resolve and I've mostly failed. I crept into bed on Friday afternoon and slept for several hours, and then I spent most of the time between 4.00pm Saturday and 10.00am Sunday asleep. In my defence, I was (and still am) not feeling well, so I don't feel too cross with myself for not sticking to my guns for most of this weekend. 

But I have managed not to give in and get back into bed today. I really, really wanted toI'm very tired, my body hurts, my throat's tender and I have a niggly headachebut I forced myself to get off my backside and do stuff instead. I had quite a productive afternoon: I put on a batch of bone broth, did some meal prep for dinner tonight and the week ahead, and I even did some ironing and mending. Mending, I tell you! 

I guess I'm not as committed to breaking this habit as I am to the shopping ban. Maybe if I had to pay a fee for every hour I spend sleeping, it would be easier to stay out of my lovely, cozy, comfy bed...

Oversleeping might not put me in debt like shopping too much, but there is a physical cost: I suffer with chronic fatigue, which is what makes napping and sleeping in so hard for me to resist, but it doesn't actually help: it makes me feel more tired, not less. I would probably be less fatigued if I stuck to a regular sleeping routine like the experts advise, which is what I'm trying to do. 

What's more, sometimes I can't sleep at night if I sleep too late, or nap too much during the day, and that starts a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and napping/oversleeping. Napping and oversleeping are also known migraine triggers and, as a chronic migraineur, I should be avoiding triggers where I can.  

Not getting enough sleep is a major health risk, but sleeping too much (that is, more than nine hours a night) might also be bad for your health, although it seems less clear cut than the science on the impact of too little sleep. 

There are studies showing sleeping more than nine hours a night is linked with increased risk of diabetes, obesity and depression, and higher "all-cause mortality", but there's also a study showing that "all-cause mortality" only increases in those who are physically inactive. I'm no gym bunny, but I get my 10,000 steps in most days. 

There is also a chicken-and-egg issuedoes sleeping too much cause poor health or does poor health lead to oversleeping? 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research concluded after reviewing the science that regularly sleeping more than nine hours might be "appropriate" for some, including people who are ill or have a sleep debt. For others, the health risk is "uncertain". 

It might not be doing me too much harm (as long as I'm active), but it isn't doing me any good either, so I'm still going try and do better. Perhaps it's more sensible to gradually reduce my oversleeping rather than cutting it out in one go? 


  1. Just thought I'd drop by and say Hi!

    My problem was the opposite... I wouldn't get enough sleep. There was too much to stay up for - most of which on reflection was trivial time filling. I've changed that to going to bed earlier and waking... whenever, usually earlier.

    What I have started to relearn is to listen more attentively to the messages from my body, not to stay up when I'm tired, not to eat when I'm not hungry (but that's a different story).

    1. Hello! You're my first commenter! Thanks!

      Not getting enough sleep - especially if you're trying to sleep, but can't - is definitely a worse situation to be in. I'm sure your body thanks you for listening!

      Trouble is, when I listen to my body, it just says, "I'm tired! Put me to bed!" I'm working on overcoming the chronic fatigue though.