If you had a dollar for every time you thought, “I just wanna be in my bed!”, you’d probably be retired. Alas, most of us aren’t retired… just tired. But could your sleepiness stem from a sleep addiction?
Read on to learn about if sleep addiction is for real. We’ll also go through some other reasons why you might be so tired all the time.
So, is it possible to be addicted to sleep? The short answer is no.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. Addiction often leads to compulsive behaviors, despite harmful consequences.
Unlike addictive substances, sleep is a necessary biological function. So we can’t really be addicted to it since we’re naturally dependent on it.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends most adults get 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. But, the average person gets less than 7 hours. While skipping out on a couple of ZZZs doesn’t seem like a big deal, one study shows it takes four days to make up for one hour of sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep on the reg, it can lead to a sleep deficit. This might make a person feel like they have a sleep addiction. But in actuality, they’re just super tired.
There could be several reasons why Sleeping Beauty has become your spirit animal.
When you’re tired and craving sleep, your body is telling you it needs to recharge and repair itself. If you find you’re craving a nap despite having slept a lot the night before, it might be because your sleep quality is poor.
You can improve your sleep quality by avoiding sleep disturbances and adjusting your bedtime habits or sleep schedule. But, it could also result from an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder.
People who sleep the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night and feel excessive sleepiness during the day could have from hypersomnia. Hypersomnia, also known as excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), can be a condition on its own or a symptom of another condition.
Hypersomnia conditions include:
- Sleep apnea. Snoring isn’t just an annoying habit – It can also be a severe medical condition. Sleep apnea is when the body’s breathing becomes interrupted during sleep, which usually causes aggressive snoring.
- Narcolepsy. This neurological disorder affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. While excessive sleepiness is the main symptom, others may include muscle weakness (cataplexy), sleep paralysis, visual hallucinations and “sleep attacks”.
- Kleine-Levin syndrome. With this rare disorder, recurrent episodes of excessive sleep and cognitive or mood changes. Episodes can last from a few days to a few weeks. In some cases, people can sleep up to 20 hours a day.
- Idiopathic hypersomnia. This uncommon disorder causes you to be very sleepy throughout the day, even after a whole night’s sleep. People suffering from this may even have a hard time waking up from slumber.
- Dysania.Aka, the overwhelming inability to get out of bed, this is different from “clinomania,” an obsession with staying in bed.
Let’s try to bring some order to this disorder.
The National Institute of Health reports that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. Additionally, a 2013 study reported that 19.5 percent of American adults suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
If you oversleep regularly and still feel like you’d find yourself on the dead side of a zombie apocalypse, there is a chance you could have a sleep disorder like hypersomnia.
Here are the telltale signs you may have become a hypersomniac zombie:
- difficulty waking up after a long sleep
- the need to nap
- memory difficulties
- brain fog
Some other side effects you could experience are:
- loss of appetite
- suicidal ideation
- memory loss
If hypersomnia is left untreated, it could lead to a number of negative health, psychological and social issues in the long run. With the help of a doctor, it’s possible to kiss your zombie self goodbye and get that pep back in your step.
Carpe diem? More like carpe die-not.
Let’s face it, we have all had days where we just don’t want to get out of bed and face the day. But feeling addicted to sleep or not being able to get out of bed could also be a sign of a mental health condition.
A 2008 study showed that 40% of depressed adults experienced excessive daytime sleepiness.
A 2015 study showed that individuals with both short (under seven hours) and long (over nine hours) sleep duration reported significantly more depressive symptoms than normal sleepers.
Excessive sleeping is a common symptom of a sign of major depressive disorder. Peeps with depression and anxiety may find it difficult to sleep well and additionally, struggle to get out of bed in the morning. This is because sleeping may be seen as a relief from emotional pain and a form of self-management.
If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness coupled with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, etc. it’s important to speak with a mental health professional and get support right away. You’re not alone.
Snoozin’ too much is not considered an addiction, and some may even take sleep aids to help them catch some quality ZZZs. But a word of caution to those who turn to sleep aids, it’s possible to become addicted to sleeping pills.
When taken as prescribed, sleeping pills are helpful for short-term insomnia. But what’s no chill is that your body can build up a tolerance and form a dependence on the pills. You may not realize this is happening to you until you stop using the medication and your body experiences withdrawal.
Signs and symptoms of sleeping pill addiction can include:
- coordination problems
- fatigue and daytime drowsiness
- lack of focus
- memory problems
- sleep disorders
Natural sleep aids are a popular, non-addictive alternative to sleeping pills. Not only do they work, but they do not have the negative side effects pharmaceutical sleeping pills have. Natural supplements you can use to support your sleep quality include:
P.S. Just because natural supplements have less known side effects than pharmaceutical sleeping pills, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Def check with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your regime.
If you experience any signs of addiction to sleep medication, don’t quit it “cold turkey”. This can increase the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor for a step-by-step recovery plan.
A list of sleep aids with strings attached
Wondering if your sleep meds have you hooked? Here is a list of commonly-used chill pills that can become addictive over time.
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- eszopiclone (Lunesta)
- quetiapine (Seroquel)
- survorexant (Belsomra)
- temazepam (Restoril)
- zaleplon (Sonata)
- zolpidem (Ambien or Edluar)
PSA: Not all of these medications cause physiologic dependence since they aren’t controlled substances. But, you can get psychologically dependent on them. If you have any addiction-related questions about medications, you should talk to a healthcare provider.
If excess sleep is affecting your daily life and you can’t kick the habit, it’s probably time to call the doc.
Discussing your symptoms with your doctor will help determine if you have hypersomnia and whether or not it could be related to another health issue. This also would be the time to discuss with your doctor if natural or pharmaceutical sleeping aids would be right for you.
Good news for our sleepy babes out there – your need for sleep is not an addiction.
Excessive sleepiness patterns could be a result of hypersomnia. Hypersomnia, a medical condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness, can also be a symptom of other sleep or mental disorders.
If you currently take sleep medication and find yourself wanting to sleep the day away, you could have a sleeping pill addiction.
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing extra sleepy symptoms so you can create the right plan to get that zest back in your life.