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Why Am I Sleeping So Much All of a Sudden? When to Worry

Published
2022-02-16
Updated
2023-05-19
Woman turning off alarm after sleeping so much

Why Am I Sleeping So Much All of a Sudden?

You’re probably sleeping so much all of a sudden because:

  1. You’ve Got Sleep Debt
  2. Your Sleep Need is Temporarily Higher
  3. A Medical Condition Could Be to Blame
  4. Female Sleep Problems May Also Make It Hard to Get Enough Sleep

Use the RISE app to find out your individual sleep need and pay back sleep debt. RISE can tell you when to do 20+ healthy sleep habits to reduce sleep disturbances and and get a good night's sleep. 80% of RISE users get better sleep and feel more energy within five days.

Whether you usually go to bed and wake up like clockwork, or you’re used to getting around the same amount of shut-eye a night, if you’re suddenly sleeping more than usual, it can be worrying. 

But, before you jump to any conclusions, sleeping more all of a sudden isn’t necessarily a sign of a medical condition. The most likely culprit is not getting enough sleep in the first place. 

Below, we’ll dive into why you’re sleeping so much all of a sudden and how you can use the RISE app to make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep for you. 

Advice from a sleep doctor:

“Sleeping more than usual is usually nothing to worry about. Your body’s probably catching up on lost sleep or fighting off an illness. However, if you’re consistently sleeping for more than 10 hours, it’s worth speaking to a doctor to rule out a sleep disorder or medical condition.”

Rise Science Medical Reviewer Dr. Chester Wu

Am I Oversleeping?

First up, let’s figure out if you’re oversleeping in the first place. To know this, you need to know your sleep need — or the genetically determined amount of sleep you need each night. 

Find Out Your Sleep Need

RISE app screenshot showing your sleep profile
The RISE app can work out how much sleep you need.

One study suggests the average sleep need is 8 hours 40 minutes, plus or minus 10 minutes or so, but 13.5% of the population may need nine hours or more sleep a night. 

When we looked at sleep need data from 1.95 million RISE users aged 24 and up, the median sleep need was eight hours, but 48% of users need eight hours or more sleep a night.

So if you’re sleeping more than the often-recommended eight hours, it’s not necessarily a sign of oversleeping — you may just be sleeping the right amount for you. 

The recommended seven to nine hours we often hear is just a guideline, and it’s one that’s based on how much sleep people get, not what they need. 

And you can’t compare yourself to your partner, family, or colleagues. You may be sleeping more than them, but we’d be confident in betting many of them are sleep deprived! 

To find out your unique sleep need, turn to the RISE app. RISE uses a year’s worth of phone use data and proprietary-sleep-science-based models to calculate your sleep need in hours and minutes. 

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to view their sleep need.

Don’t Forget About Sleep Efficiency 

Once you know your sleep need, it’s time to figure out if you’re getting that each night. 

One mistake many of us make is thinking our time in bed is the same as our sleep time. But you need to think about the time it takes you to fall asleep and any time you’re awake during the night. These two factors combine to make up sleep efficiency, the measure of how long we’re actually asleep for in bed.

For example, you may think you’re oversleeping if you’re spending nine hours in bed each night and your sleep need is eight hours. 

But a late-afternoon coffee may mean it takes you a while to drift off, drinking alcohol with dinner may fragment your sleep, and a noise in your sleep environment, like your partner snoring, may wake you up before your alarm. Factor all this in and you may find you’re getting too little sleep — not too much. 

Once you know your sleep need and are thinking about sleeping efficiency, you’ll have a better idea if you’re actually oversleeping or not (the RISE app can help you figure this out, too). 

Why Do I Sleep So Much?

You may be used to getting a certain amount of sleep each night, but now find you need to snooze the alarm clock a few times before you get out of bed each morning.

If you’re sleeping more than usual all of a sudden, there are a few likely causes: 

1. You’ve Got Sleep Debt

RISE app screenshot showing how much sleep debt you have
The RISE app can tell you how much sleep debt you have.

This is the most common reason you’re sleeping so much all of a sudden. 

Sleep debt is the measure of how much sleep you owe your body. At RISE, we calculate this over your last 14 nights. 

If you’ve not been meeting your sleep need recently, you’ll have built up sleep debt. When your body gets the chance, it’ll want to sleep for longer than usual to catch up on lost sleep.

And if you’ve got a lot of sleep debt, this may take a while to do, so you may be suddenly sleeping for longer than usual over the course of several days.

Per findings from late 2022, AI might soon be able to tell if you’re sleep deprived. But in the meantime, RISE can work out how much sleep debt you have. We recommend keeping this below five hours to feel your best each day. 

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to view their sleep debt.

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2. Your Sleep Need is Temporarily Higher 

Your sleep need is generally set throughout adulthood, but there are times in life when you need more rest than usual. These include: 

You may sleep more than usual while your body recovers, and then get back to your usual sleep schedule soon enough.

If you force yourself up early, you may feel tired the next day, build up sleep debt, and eventually find yourself sleeping for longer when your body gets the chance.

3. A Medical Condition Could Be to Blame  

A medical condition could be making it harder to get the sleep you need, so you need to spend longer in bed to get enough shut-eye. Some health issues can also leave you feeling tired during the day, no matter how much sleep you get. 

These include: 

Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia may be the reason you’re sleeping so much, but it’s rare. 

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that causes you to sleep for long periods of time at night and feel excessively tired during the day. About 4% to 6% of the population have it.

The common causes of hypersomnia are: 

  • Medical conditions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Drug or alcohol abuse 

Idiopathic hypersomnia is when there’s no known cause behind the sleepiness. You have an intense urge to sleep during the day, despite meeting your sleep need at night. 

We’ve covered more about hypersomnia here, including symptoms and how healthcare professionals can diagnose the disorder. 

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness 

Another condition that’s commonly called out as the reason you sleep so much? Excessive daytime sleepiness. This is when you struggle to stay awake during the day and you may fall asleep at inappropriate times. It’s thought to affect up to 9% to 28% of the population. 

The potential causes of excessive sleepiness include: 

  • Sleep debt 
  • Sleep disorders 
  • Medication conditions 

We’ve covered more on excessive daytime sleepiness here, including how it’s technically not classified as a sleep disorder, but instead a symptom of sleep deprivation.

Female Sleep Problems 

Women (and those assigned female at birth) have an increased risk of poor sleep. Not only are they more likely to be diagnosed with a sleep disorder, pregnancy, menopause, and your period can also make it harder to get the sleep you need at night. So you may be feeling more tired than usual or need longer in bed to meet your sleep need. 

Check out the many other reasons for female fatigue here. 

Expert tip: If your sleep debt is low and you think a medical condition could be the reason you’re sleeping more than usual, reach out to your healthcare provider. 

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Should I Be Worried About Sleeping More Than Usual?

Most of the time, sleeping more than usual is nothing to worry about. As we’ve already seen, the most likely cause of sleeping more than usual is sleep deprivation. Your body may be sleeping more in an effort to pay down sleep debt. 

And even if it’s not sleep debt, sleeping more than usual may well be a temporary change as your body recovers from intense exercise or an illness. 

There are some studies that show a “U-curve” when it comes to sleep duration and health. That is, too little sleep is bad for you, but so is too much sleep. Both under and oversleeping have been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and death

While some studies show oversleeping may be a risk factor for health issues, it’s not as clear-cut as that. For example, a 2020 sleep study with these findings was done on those 80 and older, so doesn’t really apply to the general population. Another 2020 study used self-reported health data, which isn’t an accurate measure. 

And for many studies showing a link between oversleeping and health issues it’s correlation, not causation. That is, oversleeping may not cause health issues. Instead, health issues may be the reason for oversleeping in the first place.

Finally, a 2021 paper puts it plainly: “In response to the question: “Can I sleep too much?,” the answer is “No,” since “too much” implies sleeping longer than is biologically necessary.” 

We deep dive into the science behind this in our discussion of whether 9 hours of sleep is too much. (Spoiler alert: it’s not). 

For a sleep doctor’s advice, we turned to sleep advisor and medical reviewer, Dr. Chester Wu. 

Sleeping more than usual is usually nothing to worry about. Your body’s probably catching up on lost sleep or fighting off an illness. However, if you’re consistently sleeping for more than 10 hours, it’s worth speaking to a doctor to rule out a sleep disorder or medical condition.” Rise Science Medical Reviewer Dr. Chester Wu

Why Am I So Sleepy?

Getting enough sleep but still feeling suffering from drowsiness and reaching for stimulants to get you through the day? If so, here’s what to do. 

First up: 

  • Find out your unique sleep need — it might be longer than you think.
  • Find out if you’re carrying any sleep debt — your body may be sleepy because it wants to catch up on lost shut-eye from recent nights of short sleep.

The next thing to think about is your circadian rhythm. 

You May Be Out of Sync With Your Circadian Rhythm 

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s roughly 24-hour internal clock. It dictates your sleep-wake cycle, among other things, and if you’re not in sync with it, you can be left with low energy

Beyond a lack of energy, being out of sync with your circadian rhythm can make it harder to fall asleep come bedtime, meaning you may wrack up sleep debt and make your daytime sleepiness even worse. 

You can be out of sync if: 

  • You do shift work, either night shifts or rotating shifts 
  • You have social jet lag — which happens when you go to sleep and wake up at irregular times each day
  • You’re living at odds with your chronotype — like when night owls have to wake up early for work 

Heads-up: You’ve probably felt the intense feelings of being out of sync with your circadian rhythm when you’ve had jet lag. You fly to a new time zone, but your body takes a while to catch up. 

To see if you’re out of sync, RISE can predict your circadian rhythm and show you when your body naturally wants to wake up and go to sleep. 

We’ve covered why you’re always tired and have no energy here, including why you find yourself groggy in the morning and yawning in the afternoons (and why that’s totally normal!). 

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to see their circadian rhythm on the Energy screen.

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How to Stop “Oversleeping”?

RISE app screenshot showing when to limit caffeine intake
The RISE app can guide you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits.

Feel like you’re sleeping a lot but still tired all day? While you should speak to a doctor if you’re worried (or consistently sleeping for 10+ hours), most of the time, a few lifestyle changes can help you get your sleep and energy levels back on track. 

Here’s what to do: 

  • Lower your sleep debt: Take naps, head to bed a little earlier, or sleep in a little later to get the extra sleep your body needs. 
  • Get in sync with your circadian rhythm: Keep a consistent sleep pattern by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Improve your sleep hygiene: Sleep hygiene is the set of lifestyle habits you can do to fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night. This will improve your sleep efficiency, so you don’t need to spend longer in bed meeting your sleep need. RISE can guide you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits each day to make this easier. 

For more short and long-term energy hacks we’ve covered how to get more energy here. 

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to set up their 20+ in-app habit notifications. 

Get the Right Amount of Sleep for You 

Sleeping for longer than you’re used to can feel worrying, especially if your mind goes to the many health conditions that can cause extra tiredness. But, rest assured, the most common reason for sleeping more all of a sudden is sleep debt. Your body wants to catch up on a lack of sleep.

Use the RISE app to find out your individual sleep need and whether you’re carrying any sleep debt. If you are, prioritize paying this down. You may temporarily sleep for longer, but you’ll boost your mental and physical health, wellness, mood, and energy levels by doing so. 

To get even more sleep and energy, RISE can predict your circadian rhythm, so you can sync up with it, and tell you when to do 20+ healthy sleep habits, to reduce sleep disturbances and get a good night's sleep. It’s quick too — 80% of RISE users get better sleep and feel more energy within five days.

FAQs

Why am I sleeping so much all of a sudden?

You’re most likely sleeping so much all of a sudden because you’re sleep deprived. Your body wants to sleep more than usual to catch up on recent lost sleep. Other reasons include needing more rest after intense exercise, when fighting off an illness, or there’s an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder.

Why am I sleeping so much all of a sudden female?

You’re most likely sleeping so much all of a sudden because you’re sleep deprived. Your body wants to sleep more than usual to catch up on recent lost sleep. Other reasons include needing more rest after intense exercise, when fighting off an illness, or there’s an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder. Your period, pregnancy, and menopause can make it harder to get enough sleep, so you may need to spend longer in bed to get enough rest each night.

Why am I sleeping so much all of a sudden COVID?

You’re most likely sleeping so much all of a sudden because you’re sleep deprived. Your body wants to sleep more than usual to catch up on recent lost sleep, which could have been caused by COVID symptoms. Your body may also need more sleep than usual when it’s sick with COVID.

Should I be worried about sleeping more than usual?

Most of the time, you shouldn’t be worried about sleeping more than usual. You’re probably sleep deprived and your body wants to get extra sleep to catch up on what it’s missed out on. You may also be ill or recovering from intense exercise. If you consistently sleep for more than 10 hours, speak to a doctor to rule out a medical condition or sleep disorder.

Why am I sleeping so much and still tired?

You’re most likely sleeping so much and still tired because you’re sleep deprived. Your body wants to sleep more than usual to catch up on recent lost sleep. Other reasons include needing more rest after intense exercise, when fighting off an illness, or there’s an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder.

Why did I sleep all day?

You may have slept all day because you’re sleep deprived and your body wants more sleep to catch up on what it’s missed out on. You may also need more sleep because you’re recovering from intense exercise or fighting off an illness. A medical condition or sleep disorder may also be to blame.

About Our Editorial Team

Written by
Jeff Kahn, M.S., Rise Science Co-Founder
Reviewed by
Chester Wu, MD, Rise Science Medical Reviewer
Our Editorial Standards
We bring sleep research out of the lab and into your life. Every post begins with peer-reviewed studies — not third-party sources — to make sure we only share advice that can be defended to a room full of sleep scientists.
Learn more
Updated Regularly
We regularly update our articles to explain the latest research and shifts in scientific consensus in a simple and actionable way.

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Rise is the only app that unlocks the real-world benefits of better sleep.

Instead of just promising a better night, we use 100 years of sleep science to help you pay down sleep debt and take advantage of your circadian rhythm to be your best.

Over the past decade, we've helped professional athletes, startups, and Fortune 500s improve their sleep to measurably win more in the real-world scenarios that matter most.

Rise Science is backed by True Ventures, Freestyle Capital, and High Alpha; investors behind category winners Fitbit, Peloton, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

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