I love sleep. What little I get of it! But it’s without a doubt one of my favourite things after my family and martial arts. I’m a firm advocate of naps, recognizing their rejuvenative effects and benefits. But is it possible to get TOO much sleep? The lazy bastard in me says no, but the dominant, logical side of me says yes…
First, I need to be clear on the fact that I’m not referring to a generalized number of hours’ sleep for everyone. After all, every person is different. But it should be agreed that the average adult requires between 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, every night, in order to function properly. Depending on the age group, you may need more or you may need less. The National Sleep Foundation has an online article at sleepfoundation.org that describes the amount of sleep you need by age group.
Here’s the irony: lack of sleep can cause a number of cognitive and physical side effects on the body. Heart and metabolic issues, problems with memory and increased risk of stroke have been linked to oversleeping. There are some mentions of Diabetes and death in there, as well. Although any correlation has yet to be proven on those. And to be clear, oversleeping means getting more than 9 hours in one sitting… or laying, I guess.
People will sometimes oversleep as a necessity for something their body is adjusting to. If you’re on prescribed medication that causes heavy drowsiness, getting yourself off the rack may take a bit more effort. If you turned a mean drunk with your buddies the night before, the following morning’s hangover may require you to stay in bed with the curtains closed for a tad longer than expected.
According to Dr. Michael J. Breus, who authors a webpage called The Sleep Doctor, oversleeping is more common than we think, and can often be linked to mental health issues, such as depression. The article goes on to explain that the amount of sleep required is contingent on a number of factors including but not limited to age, activity level, health and life circumstances. In those instances, the article is referring to a consistent problem and not the rare occasion where you seem to have problems getting to sleep.
One of the major issues facing someone with Type-1 Diabetes is the lack of a proper night’s sleep. Often, fluctuating blood sugars throughout the night will have you waking up for excessive urination or to take insulin because you’re running high, or to consume some fast-acting carbs because you’re having a low. This definitely messes with a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep. Restless Leg Syndrome is also a reality that folks with Diabetes are often forced to deal with, due to neurological damage caused as a side effect of Diabetes.
At this point, I’m usually out of bed around the same general time every morning, regardless of what time I fell asleep. Keeping a routine in terms of bedtime and wake time can be helpful. If I see I’m excessively exhausted, I allow myself the benefit of a short nap throughout the day (if my children permit). But there are a few things you can do to ensure a better sleep and hopefully prevent oversleeping:
- Have a Bedtime Routine: If you do the same thing every night, your body starts to recognize that it means bedtime. Getting into sleepwear, brushing your teeth and setting the morning’s alarm at the same time every night will help prepare your body for sleep. This brings me to my next point…;
- Set An Alarm: Hey, I love the thought of simply sleeping until my body feels ready to wake on its own as much as the next person. But this isn’t always possible, depending on work and familial obligations. Setting an alarm ensures you wake up consistently at the same time every morning. As much as that sucks, it helps with maintaining a proper sleep pattern;
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: This one should be common sense, but let’s be real for a moment… Most of us consume alcohol during the evening and late night hours. There’s no requirement to do it this way; it’s simply the societal norm because it’s generally frowned upon to be consuming alcohol during the workday. However, unless the social get-together is planned for the late evening, having a drink or two around supper time then stopping will help to ensure that your sleep isn’t affected by your booze. Even if you “pass out” from drinking, it isn’t proper sleep and you’ll likely wake up feeling worse than you did when you hit the pillow;
- Get Plenty of Exercise: I can personally attest to this one! Having a wicked workout sometime during the day will increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. besides the fact that you’ll be tired, exercise is conducive to a good night’s sleep.
- Check Your Blood Sugar Levels: For us Diabetic folk, making sure we aren’t on an upward or downward trend with our blood sugars is important. Honestly, maintaining a total control all throughout the night is pretty unlikely. But if you can at least ensure that you aren’t skyrocketing when you nod off will help make sure your rest is significantly better. That, or if you’re like me, you don’t want your insulin pump running out during the night.
It sounds like a lot, but to be honest, once you have a routine it’s pretty mundane and, well… routine! Sometimes when I’m feeling tired, my eyes will close for about twenty minutes while I’m seated at the couch. My whole family gets a giggle out of hearing me snore and I get the quick refresher I need to get me through the rest of the day. But there you have it! Get proper sleep, not too much! ☯