How To Recover From Sleeping Too Much and After a Long Sleep


Medical reviewed by Lauren Ann Teeter, CNS, LCSW

Functional & Integrative Approach To Mental Health, Functional Nutrition, Functional & Integrative Medicine, Psychotherapy, Mental Health

Sleep is more than closing our eyes and drifting off. It’s a complex, essential function that helps our bodies recover, our brains to consolidate memories, and maintain our health. The amount of sleep one needs can vary greatly by age, lifestyle, and individual health factors. 

Simply put, how much sleep you need largely depends on your age, among other factors related to your health and bio-individual needs. Here’s a quick guide based on recommendations from sleep experts (1):

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Consistently exceeding these recommended hours might not just be a love affair with your pillow; it could be a sign of oversleeping.

Understanding why and how to recover from sleeping too much can feel like unraveling a mystery. Let’s dive deep, from untangling the causes of these marathon sleep sessions to arming you with actionable tips to reclaim your energy and wake up feeling like you’ve actually slept just right.

Causes of oversleeping: 14 Hours – 16 Hours – 18 Hours

In a world that often praises the early bird, waking up after sleeping 15 hours might make you wonder, “Is this normal?” If you find yourself routinely sleeping over 12 hours or even hitting the sleep 16 hours mark without understanding why, it’s time to unravel the mystery behind your slumber habits. 

On exceptional days when you sleep 18 hours, it might feel like you’ve lost time in the realm of dreams. Let’s explore what’s considered excessive sleep for your age group and shed some light on the shades of sleep.

Is sleeping for 14 hours normal?

When we think about sleep, we usually picture a good night’s rest and waking up energized. But what if you’re sleeping for 14 hours straight?

Sleeping 14 hours might feel great occasionally, especially if you’re catching up after being really tired, jet-lagged, stressed, sick, or after a lot of exercise. Sometimes, your body needs that extra rest. But if you’re always sleeping this long without an apparent reason, it might hint at health issues. It’s like having one part of an orchestra off-key—it throws everything off.

Feeling tired even after 14 hours of sleep means something’s not right. Your sleep might not be deep, restorative, or restful, possibly due to issues like sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome that you might overlook.

Sleeping 16 to 18 hours a day: Understanding the risks

The line between restorative and excessive sleep can sometimes be blurry. Sleeping 16 hours or even sleeping 18 hours a day can occasionally be your body’s natural response to extreme exhaustion or recovery from illness. However, when such sleep patterns become a regular occurrence without a clear cause, it might indicate an underlying condition deserving attention.

Three key conditions linked to excessive sleep:

  • Hypersomnia: This sleep disorder is marked by excessive daytime sleepiness and long sleep hours (18+ hours) without feeling rested (2). It can arise from various causes, including neurological issues and lifestyle habits. It makes life challenging because you’re always tired, despite how much you sleep.
  • Narcolepsy: Known for extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks. Unlike hypersomnia, it might come with muscle tone loss (cataplexy), sleep paralysis, and vivid dreams. People with narcolepsy might try to catch up on poor-quality sleep by sleeping 18 hours, but it doesn’t necessarily help (3).
  • Depression can lead to oversleeping as a form of escape or due to chronic fatigue. This creates a cycle where depression causes oversleeping, which can make depression worse.

What happens to the body if you oversleep?

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In the rhythm of life, sleep is our restorative melody. But what happens when the melody becomes a relentless symphony stretching into 14, 16, or even 18 hours of sleep? Let’s delve into how too much sleep affects us, both in the short and long term.

Short-term effects of oversleeping:

  • Feeling lethargic even after sleeping 14 hours a day and still tired? That’s a common complaint. Oversleeping can leave you feeling even more exhausted than if you had slept less.
  • Headaches: Waking up after long sleep durations can often lead to sleep-related headaches (4).
  • Low energy and mood: Mood swings and low energy are a surprising outcome of oversleeping, which makes it hard to kickstart your day with positivity. This could also be due to imbalances in circadian rhythm. 

Long-term effects of oversleeping:

  • Increased risk of chronic diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis involving over 5 million people found that excessive sleep is associated with a higher risk of diabetes (26 percent higher), heart disease (25 percent higher), and stroke (46 percent higher) (5).
  • Obesity: The same study highlighted an 8 percent higher risk of becoming obese for long sleepers compared to those who get a normal amount of sleep (6).
  • Depression and mood disorders: People who oversleep may experience a higher incidence of depression and mood disorders (7).
  • Impaired cognitive function: Memory problems, difficulty focusing, and a “foggy” mind are common in people who oversleep, affecting daily productivity and cognitive health.
  • Lower quality of life: The impact on social and professional activities can be significant, with individuals reporting poorer quality of life and more problems in their daily functioning due to oversleeping.

How to recover from sleeping too much: 10 useful tips

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Have you ever found yourself oversleeping and still feeling exhausted? It’s a paradox that leaves many scratching their heads. If you’re looking to recalibrate your sleep patterns and infuse your days with energy, here are four actionable tips grounded in sleep science to help you do just that.

Establish a consistent sleep schedule

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is crucial. Sleeping and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, helps set your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. 

Avoid the trap of sleep debt, which happens when you miss sleep during the week and try to make up for it later. This can throw off your sleep rhythm and lead to oversleeping. 

Aim for a regular sleep pattern to avoid this issue. Also, be mindful during weekends; try not to sleep in more than an hour extra. Research suggests that changing your sleep schedule drastically on weekends can negatively impact your heart health (6).

Optimize your sleep environment

To get better sleep, make your sleeping area ideal for resting. 

Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to keep it dark, reducing the chances of being disturbed by light.

Also, keep your room cool, around 65°F (18.3°C), since a cooler room helps you sleep better (8).

If noise is a problem, try soundproofing your room or use earplugs to keep it quiet. A dark, cool, and quiet bedroom leads to deeper sleep, so you wake up refreshed.

Power down devices

Managing your exposure to blue light and technology is essential for your sleep quality. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin production, a hormone necessary for sleep (9). 

By limiting screen time at least two hours before bed, you give your body the cue it needs to wind down. Doing so not only minimizes blue light exposure before bedtime but also strengthens the mental association between your bedroom and a state of sleep and relaxation, creating a sanctuary dedicated to rest.

Obtaining direct sunlight in the morning may also be beneficial, as this helps balance circadian rhythm and supports healthy and restorative sleep. Further on this below! 

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Dietary adjustments

To optimize your sleep quality and combat persistent tiredness, it’s essential to consider both your dietary habits and caffeine consumption. 

Establishing a caffeine curfew by limiting intake after 2 PM can significantly reduce sleep disruptions, allowing for more restful nights. If you still feel sluggish after ample sleep, further reducing caffeine may be beneficial. 

In addition, the impact of your diet on sleep cannot be overstated; choosing foods high in fiber and low in sugar and saturated fats can promote better sleep (10). 

Adhering to a whole-food, balanced diet rich in plant compounds, antioxidants, healthy fats, and quality proteins is advised. This way of eating can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and support the microbiome—all of which have been demonstrated to positively affect sleep. In fact, research shows a bidirectional relationship between microbial diversity and quality sleep (11). 

Also, be wary of alcohol’s deceptive drowsiness effect, as it ultimately fragments sleep and diminishes its overall quality (12).

Embrace the power of exercise

Regular exercise enhances the quality and depth of your sleep, ensuring you wake up revitalized. It boosts deep sleep stages, which are crucial for physical and mental restoration (13).

Integrate moderate exercise into your daily routine, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime. Morning or afternoon sessions are ideal. Activities like yoga or light stretching in the evening can promote relaxation without increasing alertness.

Soak in the daylight

Natural light exposure helps regulate your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), improving sleep quality and mood. Make an effort to spend time outdoors in natural light, especially in the morning. At work, try to sit near a window or take short breaks outside to help reset your internal clock. Opting for more sunshine and nature can also help reduce cortisol and improve levels of Vitamin D, which is essential for modulating mood, sleep, and immunity (14). 

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine

A consistent nighttime routine signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down, making it easier to fall asleep and improving sleep quality.

Dedicate the last 30 to 60 minutes before bed to relaxing activities. Avoid stimulating content on screens. Instead, try reading, journaling, or meditating. Consider a warm bath or shower to help your body begin its nighttime cooldown.

Reserve your bed for sleep

Using your bed only for sleep strengthens the association between bed and sleep in your mind, making it easier to drift off and improve sleep quality.

If you’re not asleep within 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and do something relaxing in dim light. Return to bed when you’re sleepy. Avoid turning your bed into an office or entertainment center.

Maintain a sleep journal

Tracking your sleep patterns and habits can uncover what’s helping (or hindering) your sleep quality.

Try to note down your bedtime, wake-up time, any nighttime awakenings, and how you feel in the morning. Look for patterns, and adjust your habits accordingly. This can help you identify the ideal sleep duration for your body.

Say goodbye to the snooze button

Hitting snooze can fragment your sleep and leave you feeling more tired. Waking up at the same time every day helps solidify your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Place your alarm clock across the room to force you to get out of bed to turn it off. Try using an alarm that simulates sunrise or plays gentle, natural sounds to make waking up a more pleasant experience.

Are you tired of feeling exhausted after too much sleep? Try these simple fixes:

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule 
  • Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet 
  • Limit screen time before bed 
  • Cut back on caffeine in the afternoon 
  • Eat sleep-friendly foods 
  • Get regular exercise and daylight 
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine 
  • Use your bed only for sleep 
  • Track your sleep habits in a journal, and stop hitting snooze 

These changes can help you wake up feeling energized!

How to feel better after oversleeping

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Waking up after oversleeping can feel like you’re emerging from a fog—groggy and disoriented. But there’s a silver lining; you can cut through that fog with a few purposeful actions. Here’s how to bounce back and reclaim your day with vitality:

  • Hydrate: Kick off your recovery by drinking a glass of water. Staying hydrated helps to flush out the sleep inertia and boosts your energy levels. If you’re a fan of herbal teas, sipping peppermint tea can provide a natural perk-up thanks to its invigorating scent.
  • Seek sunlight: Step outside or open your curtains wide. Natural light signals your brain to wake up and helps reset your internal clock, reducing the chances of oversleeping tomorrow (15).
  • Move your body: Engage in light exercise like stretching, a brisk walk, or a short yoga session. Physical activity stimulates blood flow and helps shake off the sluggishness.
  • Take a refreshing shower: If possible, opt for a cooler temperature. The cool water can invigorate your senses and help you feel more awake.
  • Enjoy a nutritious breakfast: Fuel your body with a balanced meal that includes protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Adding fresh fruit can offer an immediate energy boost due to its natural sugars and vitamins.
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Is it normal to oversleep when you are sick?

Absolutely. When you’re sick, your body demands extra rest to fight off infections. Think of it as your body putting you into “recovery mode,” similar to how you might recharge a battery. So, yes, curling up and sleeping more than usual is not just normal; it’s recommended. 

Is it normal to sleep over 14 hours after sleepless nights?

After a marathon of wakefulness, your body craves extra sleep to repay that sleep debt. Sleeping over 14 hours might feel like a weekend well-spent, but it’s a sign your body is trying to catch up on lost sleep. It’s normal but try not to make a habit of it. Consistency is key for your body’s internal clock.

Which food causes more sleep?

Foods rich in carbs, magnesium, and certain dairy products have a snooze-inducing effect. Think of warm milk, bananas, and a bowl of oatmeal as nature’s lullabies. So, if you’re planning a midnight snack, choose wisely unless you want to be counting sheep.

Do I have narcolepsy, or am I just tired?

Narcolepsy involves sudden sleep attacks, not just feeling sleepy. It might be time to see a specialist if you’re nodding off uncontrollably during the day, especially in calm settings. Remember, being tired all the time could be a sign that your body needs a professional tune-up.

Is sleeping disorder a mental illness?

Sleep disorders are conditions that affect the quality, timing, and amount of sleep, which can impact daily functioning. However, they can be closely linked to mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, influencing each other in a cyclical dance. Addressing one can often help alleviate the other, so it’s important to tackle both with the help of healthcare professionals.


In wrapping up, we’ve navigated the depths of why am I sleeping 14 hours a day and how to recover from sleeping too much, alongside understanding the reasons behind those marathon sleep sessions. 

It’s clear that while catching up on sleep can be a treat, regularly sleeping for 16 hours might be a nudge from your body to pay closer attention. 

If “Why did I sleep for 14 hours?” becomes a frequent question without an obvious answer, it’s wise to seek professional insight. Achieving a balanced and healthy sleep routine isn’t just about feeling rested—it’s about nurturing your overall well-being.

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Medical reviewed by Lauren Ann Teeter, CNS, LCSW

Functional & Integrative Approach To Mental Health, Functional Nutrition, Functional & Integrative Medicine, Psychotherapy, Mental Health

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