Even though sleep is an essential function, it’s not the same for everyone. Some people love taking naps and sleeping in whenever they can. Other people struggle to turn off their racing thoughts or cram their schedules to the point where they don’t leave enough time for a full night’s rest.
College students are known for staying up late to study or waking up early to handle their often overwhelming list of coursework, part-time jobs and social activities. But what if you find it difficult to drag yourself out of bed in time for your class? Or you’re taking long naps that interfere with your studying? If you’re suddenly sleeping more than usual, you might be experiencing mental health issues.
We’re going to talk about the impact of sleep on your mental health, why you may suddenly be sleeping too much and the next steps to take.
The connection between sleeping too much and your health
Sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health. It works to prepare your body for the next day with mood regulation, energy and alertness. It’s recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night for the body and mind to properly function.
Many people often struggle with not getting enough sleep due to busy schedules and struggling to shut their mind off. A lack of sleep can lead to issues including heightened irritability, lack of concentration and struggling to properly handle stressors.
On the other hand, sleeping too much can result in problems as well. When it comes to your mental health, excessive sleeping, or hypersomnia, can increase anxiety and cause negative emotions. If you’re sleeping for more than nine hours each night, you’re likely to fall behind on responsibilities, such as attending classes or work, leading to mental health distress such as fear of failure or financial issues.
What does it mean if you’re sleeping too much all of a sudden?
While it’s normal to sleep late on days off or while sick, feeling like you’ve been sleeping too much lately can be a sign of depression. Major depressive disorder, or depression, is a mood disorder that causes overwhelming negative emotions and thoughts. It has a variety of symptoms, such as feelings of hopelessness, lack of enjoyment in activities and malaise. But one of the most common signs of depression is sleep issues.
Depression can cause insomnia as well as oversleeping. While research hasn’t determined one particular cause for hypersomnia due to depression, it’s often believed that it’s a way to escape from the depressive thoughts and emotions that are pervasive while awake. The function of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood, can also be impacted by sleep issues, leading to depression symptoms.
Approximately 15% of people who live with depression experience hypersomnia.
What to do if you’re suddenly sleeping too much
While getting enough rest is important, there is such a thing as having too much of it. If you’re suddenly sleeping too much, and it’s interfering with your daily responsibilities, it’s time to explore options that can help alleviate the trouble.
There are some self-care options that you can explore, as well as others that require the help of a professional.
Here are some ways to reduce the risk of sleeping too much:
- Keep a sleep journal — Keeping a sleep journal can track how your sleep changes over time, such as how often you’re sleeping too much or how different circumstances affect your sleep, like falling asleep after certain activities. This can show if it’s a temporary issue or the potential sign for a mental health concern, like depression.
- Exercise — If you incorporate exercise into your day-to-day routine, you’re more likely to have a deep sleep because your body is ready for rest. When you have a deep sleep, your body gets the rejuvenation that it requires to take on the next day without feeling like you need to continue sleeping or feeling tired throughout the day.
- Seek psychotherapy — If you believe that you’re suddenly sleeping too much due to mental health distress, it’s important to get professional help about a potential depression diagnosis. Talking to a licensed clinical therapist can help you figure out the root cause of your excessive sleeping and how to work on adjusting your symptoms in the future.
Lightfully U can help when you’re sleeping too much due to mental health distress
When you’re a college student, sleep is a key factor in keeping your mind sharp during class. But if you’re sleeping too much all of a sudden, it can still interfere with your day-to-day productivity and emotions. For many people, excessive sleep is a symptom of depression. But we’re here to help.
Lightfully U’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program can help you learn how to manage your depression symptoms and learn strategies for getting a healthy amount of sleep that doesn’t hurt your overall quality of life.
Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.