Most adults only require about seven to eight hours of sleep per night in order to remain healthy, alert and function well in their day to day lives. I am therefore concerned that I need to have anything from twelve to fifteen hours sleep per night.This prompted me to look into the problem further, and try to formulate a list of reasons why an individual human might need so much more sleep than another.
My initial online research was actually quite disappointing, as most of the search engine results online seemed to concentrate on why we need the 7 to 8 hours sleep most of us routinely have. The subject of people who need significantly more hours of sleep in order to cope with their daily routines was not particularly well covered at all in comparison. For this reason I have taken the time to look into this in more detail, and have compiled a list of reasons why certain people need a far larger volume of sleep than others do. I hope this might help to boost the available information on the Internet so that people with the same problem as I have will have less trouble coming up with an answer to the question "Why do I sleep too much? "
A need for excessive hours of sleep is a known symptom of depression. It is not abnormal for a person who suffers from depression to need many more hours of sleep than the average person. The frustrating thing about this is that not many people around the depressed person will understand this, and all too often the reaction to hearing the amount of hours the depressed person is sleeping is one of: 'get a job ' or 'that is just laziness ' etc. What they don't realise is that the sleep of a depressed individual is not usually good quality sleep, and much of it is full of dreams, such as we have in R.E.M sleep before we sink into a more natural a deep sleep. Even when a depressed person does manage to fall asleep, if they are awoken again for any reason, e.g. the phone rings, a car backfires outside etc, then it usually results in their mind immediately going into action again, in other words, they can't stop thinking . This can take a couple of hours to subside, so by the time they do return to sleep they have already lost two or more hours of their night's sleep, which can be exhausting if they have work the following morning, or indeed they have children they need to be awake to care for.
Excessive alcohol can make us feel sleepy, and even makes us fall asleep, but what is important is the actual quality of sleep we get, and alcohol induced sleep is not good quality sleep. Remember how tired you felt last time you came around from a general anaesthetic? Well this is a similar principle. The sleep is artificial, not restful, and the only way to recover your feeling of being truly alert and awake is to have a good sleep without the influence of alcohol within your system. You will be amazed how bright you feel after a day or two of going to bed for a seven or eight hour sleep without any alcohol in your system.
Many drugs such as Cannabis might send us off to sleep, but much like alcohol the sleep quality isn't great. Most regular Cannabis users find that they sleep a lot, but as times goes on they spend more and more time sleeping, and less and less awake. The brain becomes 'dulled' and often a regular user can be recognised by their slowed speech and inability to to think quickly when required (trust me, I speak from my own previous experiences).
Once you stop smoking Cannabis/Marijuana you may struggle to get to sleep at first in much the same way as you would after many years of drinking alcohol prior to sleep. After a few days you will be able to sleep without the drug, and you will quickly notice you wake up feeling more revitalised and refreshed. Within weeks you will notice that your need for extensive hours of sleep has also diminished.
After over 5 years without any Cannabis/Marijuana I have to say that personally I do feel better as a result and would not choose to return to this as a regular habit.
In the first three months of pregnancy the female body is undergoing huge changes such as a massive increase in Progesterone. This usually results in extreme tiredness, often to what sometimes seems like a ridiculous degree, e.g. walking to the fridge from the couch seems too much to undertake.
If you suspect there is any slight chance you could be pregnant, and you are suddenly more tired than you can ever recall being for no apparent reason, then you might want to consider taking a pregnancy test to be on the safe side.
Sleep Apnoea is a condition where the affected person either ceases breathing for relatively long periods of time, or only breathes very lightly during their sleeping hours. When their breathing resumes a normal pattern they are usually disturbed by the jolt this creates, (even if not awoken completely). The problem is common in heavy snorers and people who wake up short of breath. A trip to a specialist clinic overnight can diagnose this condition and it is treatable by the wearing of special masks during any time when the individual is likely to fall asleep.
The environment in which you sleep can make a very big difference to the quality of sleep you experience. It is important to programme yourself to associate the bedroom with being a place you go to rest or make love. The moment you begin to work on computers, watch television, read books, listen to music etc in the bedroom, you are teaching your subconscious mind that the bedroom is a place where your brain is stimulated. For this reason experts recommend you avoid any kind of brain stimulating activities in the bedroom, especially before you are going to sleep. Finish off these activities in your living room prior to heading off to bed, then your mind will immediately think "sleep time" when you climb into your bed.
Drinking caffeine rich drinks before bed is another bad idea if you want a good nights sleep. Drinks such as coffee, tea, even cola, all contain enough caffeine to interfere with your sleep pattern. If you want to have a drink before bed try to stick to hot milky drinks or plain water instead. By drinking the warm milky drinks, or even plain water as opposed to caffeine rich drinks, you will notice your sleep quality will improve, resulting in your body requiring less sleep.
Having a cigarette before you sleep might make you think you are more relaxed, but actually it has the complete opposite effect on your body. Your heart rate increases and your blood pressure rises after you smoke. This will mean you find it harder to sleep and therefore lose quality sleep time as a result. Over time you will need more sleep to compensate for the damage the cigarettes have done to your arteries, lungs etc. You will notice you need less sleep within weeks of stopping smoking.
If you eat too close to going to bed you will find your quality of sleep suffers as a result, in fact your health will too. Eating food a couple of hours prior to going to sleep will cause you sleep pattern problems. After you finally fall asleep your body will still be digesting the food you have consumed, which means your brain cannot switch off properly. Additionally certain hard to digest foods can cause you to dream more, which is also disturbing, and means again you are stuck too long in R.E.M sleep, (as opposed to drifting into a deeper natural sleep).
Health Problems.... Diabetes etc
There are many health problems can cause either a reduced ability to sleep or a greater need for sleep depending on the individual. Some examples of this are obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. If you are not aware you suffer from any of these already, then take the time to visit your Doctor and ask him to run tests to see if you might have a problem.
Although many of the problems I have listed above are simply reasons why an individual does not get good quality sleep, what you need to remember is that 7 or 8 hours quality sleep is better than 12 or 15 hours poor quality sleep. In other words, if you sort out the basic problems and improve your sleep quality, you won't need to sleep so much because your sleep will be more restful.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 04, 2019:
Thank you Hacicu:)