Have you ever heard of sleep addiction? Do you think sleep addiction really exists? In this article, we will discuss the facts about excessive sleepiness, then tell you about the actions you should take if you oversleep. Stay with us.
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Is sleep addiction real?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Society for Sleep Research, adults usually need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Of course, 7 hours of real sleep is meant, not just the time spent in bed.
If it’s been a while since you haven’t felt rested after 7 hours of sleep and you’re craving naps during the day, you might think you’re addicted to sleeping. However, excessive sleepiness can also be a sign of other issues. For example, mental health diseases such as depression and anxiety or the use of certain drugs can cause excessive sleepiness.
“Sleep addiction is not considered a disease,” says Gregory Potter, a prominent British specialist. According to the American Association of Addiction Medicine, people with addictions use substances or engage in behaviors and return to them despite the harmful consequences. But sleep is a biological function and is not fundamentally harmful.
Dr. Mariana Bodio also agrees with this opinion. According to him, we biologically need sleep to survive, just as we need to breathe. Can someone become addicted to breathing? Very unlikely, this also applies to sleep.
What factors contribute to excessive sleepiness?
Bodieu believes that there is currently no credible evidence that places sleep in the category of addictions. However, sometimes excessive sleep is a sign of other problems.
“Hypersomnia is a well-known sleep disorder characterized by prolonged sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, or both,” says Potter. “Excessive sleepiness during the day can also be caused by other conditions.”
These conditions are:
- Klein-Lewin syndrome;
- idiopathic hypersomnia;
- sleep apnea;
- Dysania or inability to get out of bed.
You may have one of these conditions and mistake it for sleep addiction.
How to recognize that we have a sleep disorder?
Although sleep addiction is not considered a disease, there are symptoms that can indicate disorders such as excessive sleep or hypersomnia. Symptoms of oversleeping include:
- Difficulty waking up after a long sleep;
- the need to take a nap;
- memory disorders;
- brain fog
Although hypersomnia is not an addiction, people who suffer from it can experience a wide range of side effects. These complications include:
- low energy;
- frequent loss of appetite;
- suicidal thoughts;
- memory loss
In some cases, oversleeping can also lead to these problems:
- Clinical depression.
Your body needs sleep, but when you are well rested, it wants to wake you up. Hormones involved in our sleep cycle determine when the body needs to repair, rejuvenate, and recharge, and actually put us in a snoozing state. If you still want to take a nap after a full night’s sleep, it may be because you don’t have a good quality sleep.
Sleep addiction and mental health
Another possible reason why a person feels addicted to sleep is mental illness.
“People with some mental health disorders spend a lot of time in bed,” says Potter. For example, this behavior is very common in some types of depression. “Some people with mental disorders also suffer from excessive sleep.”
Research shows that psychological dependence on sleep may be a symptom of depression. A 2008 study found a strong link between oversleeping and depression, showing that about 40% of depressed youth and 10% of depressed older adults suffer from oversleeping. This figure was higher for women.
Another study in 2014 showed that people who sleep more than 8 hours a night are more prone to depression compared to people who sleep less than 8 hours.
Depression may lead to both insomnia and oversleeping. While insomnia is the most common sleep problem in people with depression, almost half of the participants in one study reported excessive sleep as a symptom of their depression.
“People who want to escape from reality because they are deeply dissatisfied with their lives tend to withdraw from all negative things and go into a coma-like state,” says Boudieu.
Comparison of sleep addiction and sleeping pill addiction
While most experts believe that sleep addiction is not a disease, it is possible that this tendency to sleep a lot can cause a person to become addicted to sleeping pills.
“Sleeping pills can successfully treat short-term insomnia and are unlikely to cause serious side effects when properly prescribed by a professional,” Bodeau says. However, there is a risk of dependence on most of these drugs.
The symptoms of sleeping pill addiction are:
- memory problems;
- Fatigue and sleepiness during the day;
- lack of concentration;
- Sleep disorders such as sleepwalking.
“Addiction to sleeping pills usually occurs over time, so sleeping pills should only be used as a short-term treatment with a doctor’s prescription,” advises Bodieu.
Here is a list of common sleep medications that may become addictive over time:
If you are worried about the addictiveness of the medicine you are taking or are taking, it is better to talk to your doctor for more information.
The best non-addictive sleeping pills
If you’re looking for a non-addictive way to sleep, these natural options can help:
- lavender capsules, tea, or essential oils;
However, it is important to note that health professionals are concerned about melatonin supplements due to mislabeling and long-term use. If you want to take melatonin, be sure to consult your doctor before taking it.
You can also change your sleeping habits to help you manage insomnia and sleep disorders. For example, avoid being exposed to screens or consuming caffeine before going to sleep and use sufficient amount of daylight during the day.
Time to see a doctor
If your excessive sleepiness becomes a constant pattern and affects your daily life, you should see a doctor. Of course, sleep addiction is not a specific disease, so your fatigue may be due to oversleeping, a mental health condition, or another concern. Whatever the reason for this fatigue, it should be investigated.
Do you think you are addicted to sleep? What solution have you used to treat this addiction? Please share your opinions and valuable experiences in this field with us and our dear users.