If you can't seem to get out of bed in the morning despite getting 8, 9 or 10 hours of sleep at night, or you keep hitting snooze despite the fact that you need to get going for the day, you could be depressed, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
While you might think insomnia, the inability to sleep, is associated with depression, chronic oversleeping may be a sign, too.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 15% of people with atypical depression are chronic over sleepers. That's a type of depression where mood can be improved temporarily with a positive event, but the underlying low-grade depression lingers, causing brain chemicals to be off so you sleep longer than you would ordinarily. Oversleeping can also be a form of escape when your mood is low, or when you don't have something to look forward to.
What else causes you to sleep too much?
Not feeling refreshed after a full night's sleep can also be a sign of a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), where you don't realize you're not getting adequate rest due to pauses in breathing that can happen hundreds of times during the night, so you never feel well-rested. People with obstructive sleep apnea tend to feel tired a lot, and find naps may only disrupt their nighttime sleep more. Research shows they also have more accidents and the disorder is associated with a risk of other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Sleeping too much can also be a circadian rhythm disorder. The body's internal master clock runs on a 24-hour schedule, the circadian rhythm, and is usually set internally by cues like daylight, which makes you alert, and darkness, which winds you down for sleep at night.
When the master clock gets disrupted by social or work requirements, frequent changes in shift work, jet lag or medical conditions like stroke and dementia, you may have affects like oversleeping or a delayed sleep phase where you cannot fall asleep at bedtime but stay up very late and therefore need extra sleep well into the morning.
What to do if you're chronically oversleeping
Whether depression, sleep apnea or a circadian rhythm issue, the pattern of oversleeping can continue unless you talk to your doctor. She or he might recommend seeing a sleep specialist, keeping a sleep diary nightly or even having a sleep study done either in a lab or at home.
There's also many sleep hygiene practices that can help with chronic oversleeping no matter what causes it like:
Getting enough natural daytime light
Keeping light to a minimum at night
Staying on a set sleep/wake schedule
Spending more time in nature
Staying off screens before bed
Getting depression under control with medication and/or behavioral therapy
Having a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed and treated
Practicing chronotherapy (shifting your sleep/wake cycle by progressively delaying sleep over time, which can also help alleviate the effects of circadian rhythm sleep disorders)
Getting too much sleep may seem like no big deal, especially for those who've had the opposite problem, but chronic oversleeping typically has an underlying cause and may mean that you're not getting adequate sleep and are chronically overtired. With the help of your doctor and some lifestyle and behavior sleep changes, you can get back to sleeping the right amount again.