Is It Possible To Become Addicted To Sleep?


Can You Really Become Addicted to Sleep?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the average adult requires at least 7 hours of sleep every night. This refers to actual sleep, not just time spent in bed. When you consistently don’t feel rested after a 7-hour sleep and crave naps during the day, you may begin to feel like you have a sleep addiction.

However, excessive drowsiness could be a sign of another issue. For instance, mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety or certain medications can have a similar effect.

Sleep is a biological function and isn’t fundamentally harmful. Just like breathing, sleep is biologically necessary to survive. Can someone be addicted to breathing? Never say never, but it’s extremely unlikely, and the same is true for sleeping.

Currently, no academic paper recognizes sleep as an addiction. However, excessive sleeping can be caused by other conditions.

Hypersomnias are recognized sleep disorders characterized by long sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, or both. Excessive daytime sleepiness can also be caused by other conditions.

These include:

  • narcolepsy

  • Kleine-Levin syndrome

  • idiopathic hypersomnia

  • sleep apnea

  • dysania, or the inability to get out of bed

It’s very possible to have one of these conditions and confuse it for a sleep addiction.

Even though sleep addiction isn’t recognized as a medical condition, there are signs to look out for that could indicate a sleep disorder such as hypersomnia.

Signs of hypersomnia include:

  • tiredness

  • difficulty waking up after a long sleep

  • irritability

  • the need for naps

  • memory difficulty

  • brain fog

Even though hypersomnia is not an addiction, those who have been diagnosed with it can suffer a wide range of side effects.

These include:

  • low energy

  • fatigue

  • headaches

  • migraine

  • frequent loss of appetite

  • restlessness

  • hallucinations

  • suicidal ideation

  • memory loss

In some cases, hypersomnia can lead to other conditions like:

  • diabetes

  • obesity

  • clinical depression

You may also be excessively tired due to poor sleeping habits, a disrupted sleep schedule, or behaviors during the day.

Your body wants as much sleep as it needs, naturally waking you up when it’s well rested. The hormones involved in our sleep cycles identify when the body needs to repair, rejuvenate, and recharge and so in effect puts us into snooze mode.

If you still want to nap after a full night’s sleep, it may point to an issue with sleep quality.

Another possible reason you feel addicted to sleep could be related to a mental health condition.

People with certain mental health disorders spend lots of time in bed. This is quite common in some forms of depression, for instance. Some people with psychiatric disorders also have hypersomnia. Research shows that a psychological dependence on sleep may be an indicator of depression. Depression may lead to both insomnia and hypersomnia.

While most experts agree that a straightforward sleep addiction is not a medical condition, it is possible to develop an addiction to sleeping pills. This can lead to symptoms of hypersomnia.

Sleeping pills can successfully treat short-term insomnia,” Bodiu says. “When used correctly under the direction of a medical professional, they are unlikely to have a serious negative impact.

However, most medications run the risk of dependence.

In addition, you may not realize you’re dependent on a medication until you build a tolerance to the dosage or experience withdrawal symptoms from stopping use.

Signs and symptoms of sleeping pill addiction can include:

  • memory problems

  • fatigue and daytime drowsiness

  • lack of focus

  • coordination problems

  • sleep disorders such as sleep walking

Addiction usually happens over time, so sleeping pills should only be taken for short-term treatment. Depending on the type of drug and how long you take it, it may be safer to wean yourself off as opposed to stopping “cold turkey.”

In either case, always seek the support of a medical professional to help you through the process.

Wondering if your sleep medication might have the potential for addiction? Here is a list of common sleep aids that can become addictive over time.

  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

  • quetiapine (Seroquel)

  • trazodone

  • zolpidem (Ambien or Edluar)

  • zaleplon (Sonata)

  • eszopiclone (Lunesta)

If you have concerns about the addictiveness of a medication you take or are considering taking, talk with a doctor to learn more. If you’re looking for a sleep aid that doesn’t have the potential for addiction, several natural options can help you drift off:

  • melatonin

  • lavender capsules, teas, or essential oil in a diffuser

  • chamomile

  • valerian

  • passionflower

  • lemon balm

However, it’s important to note that health professionals are becoming increasingly concerned about melatonin supplements due to mislabeling and prolonged use.

Even though a sleep addiction isn’t a recognized medical condition, there are a number of reasons why you may be struggling with oversleeping.

Hypersomnia is a medical condition that leads to excessive tiredness, and some mental health conditions can also lead to sleepiness.

If you take prescription sleep medication and have the desire to sleep during the day, you may be dealing with a sleeping pill addiction.In any case, talk with your doctor to get support and find the solution that’s right for you.

Walters, Meg. “Is Sleep Addiction a Real Thing? What the Science Says.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 15 Mar. 2022, 

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