We’ve all been there. We’ve had a long week at work and we’ve decided to ditch our friends at the bar because it’s time to reward ourselves with a good ol’ sleep. Ahhhh, bliss! Yes, the idea of going to bed early and giving ourselves a lie-in on a Saturday morning can often make our week at work bearable. However, does anyone really feel refreshed after a long sleep? You might wake up with a headache, feel all groggy, potentially feel a little sick, and you might even feel more tired than you were when you went to bed. So, how does that work? Well, it seems as though oversleeping actually causes you to be more tired, and here’s why…
If you’ve ever tried to understand science, you’ll know that some of the biggest brains in the world often use ridiculously long words to describe something. However, it seems they were suffering from the effects of oversleeping when they came up with this name – because they called the effects of oversleeping ‘sleep drunkenness.’ While actual drunken behaviour can drastically change your life, it seems as though oversleeping could also have similar effects, because it drastically changes our daily cycle.
A circadian rhythm
You might have been wondering how our body knows when to sleep and when to be awake, and that’s all down to our circadian rhythms. These rhythms are created by a cool bunch of cells who have set up shop in our hypothalamus, which is located in our brains. It’s these cells that decide when we go to sleep, and they decide this by the light that comes through our eyes. If it is light outside, they know that we should be awake. If it’s dark outside, we should be asleep. For the most part, these rhythms stay on beat and continue to work every single day – which is normally why you find yourself waking up exactly one minute before your alarm each morning! Yet, when we oversleep, we disrupt this rhythm.
The biological clock
Our circadian rhythms are more commonly regarded as our body clock, but when we sleep too much, this body clock goes all out of sync. Suddenly it has no idea what time it is, why it’s awake, or whether it should be asleep again. This causes these cells to become discombobulated, which ultimately makes them tired – which is then passed onto your physical body. Although you may have slept in until 10:30 am, your cells were doing what they were supposed to at 6:30 am – because they thought that’s what they had to do. Yet, because your body was not up and active, this energy was going to waste, meaning that you feel even more fatigued than you were previously.
Even more problems
Although the thought of being more tired is enough to never have a lie-in ever again, it seems as though this extra sense of tiredness is not the only side effect of sleeping in. Those who regularly sleep longer than they need to may soon find themselves experiencing symptoms of obesity, heart disease, or even diabetes. Many people also find that their cognitive functioning starts to weaken, and their memory starts to worsen. Of course, nobody wants that.
Sleep is one of the weirdest concepts in the world, and it’s a little like Goldilocks and her porridge. After all, too little sleep can be damaging – but so can too much. You need to make sure that you get your sleep just right, and can maintain a tip top sense of physical and mental health. We know you can do it.