Is Oversleeping Dangerous? The Short Answer Is Yes

Discover the risks of oversleeping, from heart health to obesity, and learn how it affects your well-being. Tips and insights inside.


When it comes to sleep, you can have too much of a good thing

In the quest for perfect sleep, we often worry about not getting enough. But what about the other side of the coin—can you ever have too much sleep? And is oversleeping dangerous?

Believe it or not, hitting the snooze button one too many times could be doing more harm than good. In our busy lives, the idea of oversleeping seems almost laughable, a 'good problem' to have, right? Yet, consistently logging extra hours under the covers is a health hazard in disguise. 

So, let’s tackle a less-discussed aspect of sleep hygiene: the potential downsides of oversleeping and why finding that sleep sweet spot is essential for our overall well-being.

What is oversleeping?

Oversleeping, or hypersomnia, isn't just about indulging in a little extra shut-eye over the weekend. It's when you consistently clock more than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep for adults, venturing into the 10+ hour territory on a regular basis. 

But how do we measure oversleeping, and when does enjoying a leisurely lie-in cross the line into health concern territory? It's all about consistency and impact. If you find yourself routinely spending 10 hours or more in bed and still waking up feeling unrefreshed or groggy, it's a red flag. The quality, not just the quantity, of sleep matters here.

Medical professionals and sleep experts use various tools and questionnaires to assess sleep patterns and diagnose oversleeping. The key is looking at long-term patterns—a few long sleeps here and there, especially after a period of deprivation or during illness, aren't the issue. It's when "more" doesn't equate to "better" that oversleeping emerges as a concern worth addressing.

Is oversleeping dangerous? It can be—here’s why…

We’ve established that oversleeping can be harmful to our health, now let’s look at the why. Below are some of the potential short and long-term risks of oversleeping:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Death


Oversleeping can trigger headaches in some individuals, likely due to changes in brain neurotransmitters like serotonin. Irregular daytime naps disrupting nighttime sleep may also contribute to morning headaches.

Back pain

Contrary to old advice, resting in bed isn't recommended for back pain. Modern guidelines suggest maintaining activity levels and avoiding excess sleep (not surpassing 7–9 hours) to support back health.

Cardiovascular disease

Oversleeping doesn't just leave you feeling groggy; it has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Studies have found that adults who sleep 10 hours or more nightly may have a 30% higher risk of premature death, primarily due to cardiovascular diseases. The extended sleep durations are thought to contribute to the buildup of plaque in arteries, leading to atherosclerosis, a key factor in heart disease.


The link between oversleeping and weight gain is more than just a correlation. Research suggests that people who sleep too much might experience metabolic disruptions, which can lead to increased appetite and decreased energy expenditure. A study showed that individuals who slept over 9 hours a night were 21% more likely to become obese over a six-year period, compared to those who slept between 7-9 hours, even when diet and exercise were accounted for.


Research suggests that long sleep durations could be a predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Oversleepers might experience alterations in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, contributing to the disease's onset. The exact mechanisms are still being studied, but the association is clear: both too much sleep can also mess with your blood sugar levels.


While adequate sleep is known for bolstering mental health, oversleeping has been associated with an increased risk of depression. This might seem counterintuitive, but too much sleep can disrupt the body's natural rhythms and lead to feelings of lethargy and sadness.


Studies, including this National Library of Medicine one, link sleeping over nine hours nightly with higher death rates compared to those sleeping 7-8 hours. While the exact cause is unclear, factors like depression and lower socioeconomic status, often associated with longer sleep, might influence this trend.

Given these findings, the old adage "you can never have too much of a good thing" doesn't quite hold up when it comes to sleep. Indeed, oversleeping turns out to be the stuff of nightmares, undermining our health in ways we might never have imagined. But fear not, there are ways to tackle the issue.

The causes of oversleeping

Now that we've ventured into the dark side of oversleeping, let's turn our attention to its roots. Could it be a lifestyle choice, or is there something deeper at play? Understanding why you might be oversleeping is the first step toward addressing it effectively. Here are some common culprits:

  • Underlying health conditions: Conditions like hypothyroidism and depression can significantly impact your sleep patterns, leading to excessive sleepiness. These disorders slow down the body's metabolism and affect mood, respectively, making it harder to feel rested. 
  • Medication side effects: Certain medications, especially those for depression and anxiety, can contribute to oversleeping by influencing neurotransmitter levels in the brain, which regulate sleep.
  • Lifestyle factors: Irregular work schedules, poor sleep hygiene, and lack of physical activity can disrupt your natural sleep cycle, leading to periods of both under and oversleeping.

Whether it's a treatable health condition, a side effect of medication, or a lifestyle habit, identifying the root allows for targeted interventions when working with a medical professional. This way, the dream of achieving just the right amount of restful sleep isn't so far out of reach.

Tips to prevent oversleeping

To curb the habit of oversleeping and reclaim your zest for the day, consider integrating these actionable and perhaps less obvious tips into your routine:

1. Be consistent with your sleep schedule

Even on weekends, try to wake up around the same time you do on weekdays. This habit helps to anchor your body's internal clock, reducing the chances of oversleeping and improving overall sleep quality. Top tip: Avoid the snooze button!

2. Create a wind-down routine

Engage in activities that signal to your brain it's time to wind down. This could be something less conventional, like a light stretching routine, listening to a specific type of music, or even a scent-based cue like lavender, which has been shown to aid relaxation.

3. Sync with your circadian rhythm 

Beyond just going to bed and waking up at the same time daily, try to align your schedule with natural light patterns. Expose yourself to sunlight early in the morning and reduce blue light exposure from screens as evening approaches to reinforce your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. 

4. Invest in a sleep tracker

A dedicated sleep tracker (or a smartwatch with sleep tracking capabilities) can offer invaluable insights into your sleep patterns. These devices can help identify disturbances in your sleep phases, providing data that can be used to adjust your sleep habits effectively.

5. Seek professional guidance when needed

If you've tried adjusting your sleep habits and environment but oversleeping persists, it might be time to consult a sleep specialist. Underlying issues like obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia could be at play, requiring professional intervention.

Finding the right balance in sleep

Sleep is the foundation of our well-being, there’s a delicate balance to be struck. Oversleeping can lead us down a path peppered with health risks—from headaches and back pain to cardiovascular disease and depression. But by tuning into our bodies’ needs, understanding the potential pitfalls of too much sleep, and adopting habits that promote just the right amount of rest, we can head towards healthier, more vibrant lives. 


Written by

Georgia Austin

Professionally trained copywriter, editor, and content marketing strategist with over 7 years of experience—working with brands like Nike, Siemens, Toshiba, Tommy Hilfiger, Culture Trip, and Klook.

Copyright © Neybox Digital Ltd.