Sometimes, feeling so tired you feel like all you want to do is sleep can just be a sign that life has been particularly busy. But, if it’s happening every day and there doesn’t seem to be any other explanation for why it might be occurring, then excessive sleeping could actually indicate something more serious — depression.
If this seems familiar, it’s definitely worth looking into and ruling out any deeper underlying causes. In this blog post, we will explore “Is excessive sleeping a sign of depression’ as well as provide ideas about how to address the issue of fatigue if it turns out not to have its roots in mental illness.
Common Causes of Excessive Sleeping
Excessive sleeping, or hypersomnia, is a sleep disorder that can cause people to feel sleepy during the day and have difficulty getting out of bed. It’s not uncommon for people with hypersomnia to sleep more than 10 hours every night—or even take long naps throughout the day—and still wake up feeling tired.
While many people experience hypersomnia as a result of overworking or stress, there are some cases where excessive sleeping can be an indication of mental health issues such as depression. Below are the physical and psychological causes of excessive sleeping:
6 Physical Causes of Excessive Sleeping
Excessive sleeping can be caused by a variety of different physical conditions, including sleep apnea and thyroid problems. In some cases, hypersomnia is caused by the body’s inability to effectively regulate its circadian rhythm.
Additionally, certain medications like benzodiazepines or antihistamines can also cause people to become excessively sleepy during the day. Here are the six common physical causes of excessive sleeping:
- Anaemia: A lack of iron in the body that can cause fatigue and make it difficult to stay awake during the day.
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can lead to tiredness during the day, leading to excessive sleep.
- Hypothyroidism: Low thyroid hormones may cause a person to feel abnormally tired, leading to excessive sleep.
- Sleep apnea: A disorder that can cause difficulty breathing during sleep, resulting in fatigue and excessive sleeping.
- Medication side effects: Some medications, like antidepressants, may cause drowsiness as a side effect.
- Other medical conditions: Conditions such as heart disease, asthma, arthritis and fibromyalgia can cause fatigue, leading to excessive sleeping.
6 Psychological Causes of Excessive Sleeping
In some cases, excessive sleeping may result from psychological factors rather than physical ones. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can cause people to feel sleepy during the day and have difficulty staying awake. Here are the six common physical causes of excessive sleeping:
- Stress: Constant stress can lead to exhaustion and difficulty staying awake during the day.
- Depression: Feeling down or hopeless can cause a person to feel constantly tired, resulting in excessive sleep.
- Emotional trauma: Issues such as the death of a loved one, divorce or abuse can lead to depression and fatigue, making it difficult to stay awake during the day.
- Grief: The loss of a loved one can cause extreme sadness which leads to excessive sleeping.
- Boredom: Lack of stimulation or things to do can lead to a person feeling tired during the day and sleeping more than usual.
- Anhedonia: Loss of pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed. This can lead to fatigue and excessive sleeping as the person has no motivation to stay awake.
Is Excessive Sleeping a Sign of Depression – 8 Major Symptoms
Excessive sleeping can be a sign of depression if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as low energy and lack of interest in activities. If you’re experiencing the following signs, it could be an indication that excessive sleeping is related to depression:
1. Decreased Energy Levels
Depression can cause a person to feel exhausted and have low energy levels. This can lead to excessive sleeping as the person finds it hard to stay awake during the day. Below are a few more related signs:
- Constant fatigue
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Lack of motivation to do activities
- Low energy throughout the day
- Feeling sluggish and lethargic
- Inability to concentrate or focus on tasks
- Needing naps during the day even after a full night’s sleep
2. Difficulty Sleeping
Depression can also make it difficult to fall asleep at night, leading to excessive sleeping during the day. Below are a few more related signs:
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Waking up often in the middle of the night
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Worrying or ruminating excessively at night
- Feeling exhausted but still unable to fall asleep
3. Apathy & Low-Interest Levels
Depression can also result in apathy and low-interest levels. This can cause a person to not find pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, causing them to feel tired and sleep more. Below are a few more related signs:
- Lack of motivation to do tasks or engage in social activities
- Feeling constantly bored and uninterested in anything
- Feeling unmotivated to do tasks or pursue goals
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing on activities due to low mood
4. Irritability & Mood Swings
Depressed people are often easily irritated and can have sudden shifts in their mood. This can make it difficult for them to relax throughout the day, leading to excessive sleeping. Below are a few more related signs:
- Unprovoked outbursts or mood swings
- Quick shifts in emotions from happy to sad
- Feeling agitated and frustrated for no reason
- Easily irritated by things that would usually not bother them
- Low tolerance level and impatience with others
5. Social Withdrawal
Depression can also make a person not want to engage in social activities or be around others. This can lead to excessive sleeping as they don’t have the energy or motivation to stay awake during the day. Below are a few more related signs:
- Avoiding family and friends
- Feeling disconnected from people around them
- Lack of interest in going out or attending events
- Withdrawal from activities they previously enjoyed
- Feeling isolated and lonely even when surrounded by people
6. Unexplained Aches & Pains
Depression can also subsequently cause physical symptoms such as unexplained aches and pains. This can lead to excessive sleeping as the person is feeling too uncomfortable or in pain to stay awake during the day. Below are a few more related signs:
- Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
- Headaches and muscle pains
- Stomach aches and nausea
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Shortness of breath with no physical causes
- A general feeling of being unwell without any explanation.
7. Suicidal Thoughts
Depression can create suicidal thoughts. This can cause a person to sleep more in order to avoid those thoughts. Below are a few more related signs:
- Feeling hopeless and helpless
- Having recurrent negative thoughts or ideas
- Talking about death and suicide
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies they previously enjoyed
- Having the plan to end their own life.
8. Persistent Feelings of Emptiness or Sadness
Persistent feelings of emptiness or sadness can also be a sign of depression. It can cause someone to sleep more in order to avoid facing their emotions. Below are a few more related signs:
- Feeling emotionally numb or empty
- Experiencing intense bouts of sadness
- Feeling lonely and disconnected from others
- Having difficulty expressing emotions or feeling joy
- Waking up feeling exhausted even after a long sleep.
13 Best Treatment Options For Excessive Sleeping Due to Depression
Excessive sleeping can be a sign of depression and it’s important to seek help if you think this may be the case. There are various treatment options available that can help address the underlying causes of depression and reduce symptoms such as excessive sleeping.
Here are 13 treatment options for treating excessive sleeping as a sign of depression:
- Psychotherapy: Talking to a therapist about your depression can help you identify and cope with underlying issues that may be causing excessive sleeping.
- Exercise & Diet: Regular physical activity and a nutritious diet can help improve mood and increase energy levels, reducing the need for excessive sleep.
- Stress-Relieving Activities: Engaging in calming activities such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness can help reduce stress levels, leading to better sleep quality.
- Bright Light Therapy: Exposing yourself to bright light during the day can help reset your body’s internal clock and improve sleep habits.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps you recognize and challenge any negative thoughts or beliefs contributing to depression and excessive sleep.
- Antidepressant Medications: Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to help reduce depressive symptoms, including the urge to sleep too much.
- Sleep Hygiene Practices: Making adjustments to your daily routine such as avoiding caffeine late in the day can help improve your overall sleep quality.
- Supplements: Natural supplements such as melatonin and magnesium can also help regulate your sleep-wake cycle and improve the quality of your rest.
- Time Management: Setting boundaries on how much time you spend sleeping can help prevent excessive sleeping and allow more time for activities that boost mood.
- Community Support: Talking to friends, family or a support group can also help reduce feelings of isolation associated with depression.
- Sleep Aids: When all else fails, your doctor may suggest sleep aids to help you get the restful night’s sleep you need.
- Herbal Remedies: Certain herbs such as chamomile, lavender and valerian root can help relax the mind and body in order to promote better sleep.
- Music Therapy: Listening to soothing music or guided relaxation tracks can also help reduce stress and provide a sense of calm.
In summary, it seems that excessive sleeping is a potential sign of depression, but more often than not, it can be attributed to other causes. It is important to take into consideration your personal mental health when asking yourself if excessive sleeping might be due to depression.
If you have any concerns, seeking professional help may provide broader insight and guidance into what could be the underlying cause or issues around sleeping too much. Remember that seeking help is always better than not addressing the issue.
By recognizing any warning signs and taking action as soon as possible, you can help ensure that you maintain your physical and mental well-being in the long term.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why am I sleeping too much all of a sudden?
Sleeping too much can be a sign of depression and is often caused by underlying issues such as stress, anxiety or low self-esteem. It can also be triggered by changes in body chemistry such as hormonal imbalances or medications.
If you think excessive sleeping might be caused by depression, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional.
What illness makes you sleep a lot?
A number of illnesses can cause excessive sleeping, including depression, hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue syndrome. Other conditions such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy can also lead to long periods of sleep.
If you think you might have an underlying condition causing your excessive sleeping, it is important to seek medical advice.
What deficiency causes too much sleep?
Vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies can cause excessive sleeping, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and dizziness. If you suspect a vitamin or mineral deficiency could be the cause of your excessive sleep, it is important to talk to your doctor who may recommend dietary changes or supplements.
How do I stop oversleeping?
1. Talk to a Therapist: Talking to a therapist about your depression can help you identify and cope with underlying issues that may be causing excessive sleeping.
2. Exercise & Diet: Regular physical activity and a nutritious diet can help improve mood and increase energy levels, reducing the need for excessive sleep.
3. Stress-Relieving Activities: Reducing stress by engaging in calming activities such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness can help reduce sleepiness.
4. Bright Light Therapy: Exposure to bright light during the day can help reset your body’s internal clock and improve sleep habits.
5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps you recognize and challenge any negative thoughts or beliefs that could be contributing to depression and excessive sleep.
6. Antidepressant Medications: Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to help reduce depressive symptoms, including the urge to sleep too much.
How many hours is oversleeping?
Oversleeping is usually classified as getting more than 9 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. However, it can also refer to sleeping for extended periods during the day or having trouble waking up in the morning.
If you frequently find yourself sleeping for too long, it’s important to talk to a doctor about possible underlying causes.
How do you test for hypersomnia?
If you think you may have hypersomnia, it’s important to see a doctor for an evaluation. The doctor will likely ask about your sleeping habits and any associated symptoms.
They may also order a sleep study or other tests to assess your condition. Treatment options such as lifestyle modifications, medications and cognitive behavioral therapy can help reduce excessive daytime sleepiness.
How much sleep do you need by age?
The amount of sleep you need varies depending on your age. Generally, newborns and infants (0-3 months) require the most sleep at around 16-18 hours per day.
Children aged 3-5 years should get 11-13 hours, while teenagers need 8-10. Adults over 18 years old should aim for 7-9 hours per night. It’s important to note that individual needs may differ and it is best to speak to your doctor about any sleep concerns.
What are the side effects of hypersomnia?
1. Cognitive Impairment: Hypersomnia can cause difficulty concentrating, poor memory and a lack of motivation.
2. Social Difficulties: Excessive sleeping can affect social relationships due to reduced energy levels and the possibility of missing out on activities.
3. Accidents & Injuries: Sleep deprivation puts people at risk of falling asleep during activities such as driving, which can lead to serious accidents and injuries.
4. Poor Mental Health: Excessive sleeping is often associated with depression and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms of hypersomnia.
5. Weight Gain: People with hypersomnia may have a higher body mass index (BMI) due to overeating or changes in metabolism.
6. Headaches & Dizziness: Chronic fatigue can lead to headaches and dizziness, which can further disrupt daily activities.
Who is at risk for hypersomnia?
People who are at an increased risk of developing hypersomnia include those with a family history of the condition, as well as shift workers and people who have certain medical conditions such as depression or sleep apnea.
Additionally, the use of certain medications or drugs can cause excessive sleeping. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk of hypersomnia.
David Nutt (September 10, 2008). Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181883/
Peter L. Franzen (December 10, 2008). Sleep disturbances and depression: risk relationships for subsequent depression and therapeutic implications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108260/