Feeling tired all the time? Too much sleep—not too little— could be to blame. One in 800 could have a substance in their cerebrospinal fluid called somnogen, which acts like a sleeping pill and leads to “hypersomnia”—or too much sleep, say researchers at Emory University.
And while that condition is rare, over-sleeping is common—and a possible sign that something’s off.
Even though we all think we need more sleep, routinely logging 10 hours a night and waking up tired—with no illness, jetlag, or stress to blame—is a problem, says sleep expert Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Logging lots of ZZZ’s and still feel beat? Your beauty sleep could point to one of these four problems:
1. Your Thyroid Is Acting Up
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid, a gland that produces hormones to control sleepiness and hunger, is underactive. It’s a common cause of over-sleeping, but hard to pinpoint without a doctor.
If you’re feeling sluggish, but getting plenty of sleep, make an appointment with your doc. A simple blood test can detect the problem, says clinical psychologist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., of the American Board of Sleep Medicine.
2. Your Mood Is Fuelling Your Sleep
Many depressed people aren’t just down in the dumps—they’re sleepy, too. But here’s the deal: Depression doesn’t necessarily make you sleep more, it just makes getting out of bed in the a.m. tougher, which could lead to excess sleep, says Breus.
So if you’re finding yourself lacking the energy to face the hours ahead of you or dreading the day, head to your doc to get checked for this very common disease.
3. You Could Have Sleep Apnea
The disorder affects between 3 and 7 percent of people, waking you up because you stop breathing anywhere from five times to hundreds of times an hour, Breus says. As a result, you wind up sleeping longer because the quality of your sleep is so compromised, Kennedy adds.
The catch: You don’t remember all the waking up, so it’s hard to tell if you’re suffering. Snoring, being overweight, and waking up with a headache—from oxygen deprivation at night—are all symptoms of sleep apnea, says Breus. Ring your doctor if those symptoms sound familiar, since a study found that people with severe sleep apnea are almost five times as likely to die of cancer than those who breathe easy.
4. Your Alarm Clock Is Killing Your Slumber
Your constant sleepiness could have to do with what stage of sleep you wake up in, says Breus. “If you wake up in deep sleep, you could experience what we call ‘sleep drunkenness,’” he says. (Think: grogginess, disorientation, and drowsiness).
If mornings are rough, try something like the sleepyti.me bedtime calculator. It’ll recommend wake-up times in a window when you’re in lighter sleep.
By: Cassie Shortsleeve