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How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?

Sleep Needs Vary for Everyone

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Updated February 03, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
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Although most people should be concerned about not sleeping enough, you may wonder: How much sleep is too much sleep?

First, it is important to determine how much you sleep you need, which can be accomplished with a simple experiment. Individual sleep needs are largely determined by genetics, but other factors may include your general health and even your age. Most adults need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night. When you get less than the sleep you need, you begin to experience sleep deprivation. With chronic loss of sleep you may gradually accumulate a sleep debt. You may experience excessive daytime sleepiness and you may find yourself taking frequent, prolonged naps or sleeping more on the weekends.

But, ultimately, how much sleep is too much? If you are a long-sleeper based on your genetics, you may sleep 8 to 10 or more hours a day to feel rested. Just as there are exceptional people who can get by on 4 hours of sleep per night, other people may require 12 hours, though both scenarios are rare.

If your personal sleep needs have changed dramatically, or if you suffer from symptoms of sleep disorders such as feeling too sleepy, you may wish to speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist. Certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or depression may leave you sleeping too much and these may require treatment.

For those who have always required a little extra sleep than average, there is no reason for feeling guilty about sleeping too much. It’s not too much; it’s just what you need.

Sources:

Kryger, MH et al. "Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine." Elsevier, 5th edition, 2011.

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