ZocdocAnswersIs too much exercise the reason I sleep too much?

Question

Is too much exercise the reason I sleep too much?

I swim twice a day and sleep about 10 hours a day. I could sleep 20 hours a day if I let myself. Do I have a sleeping disorder or am I just tired from swimming?

Answer

Vigorous exercise is essential to promote physiological well-being but overdoing it without allowing your body to recover can do more harm than good. Too much exercise (typically 3-4 hours per day) will surely take its toll on your body. Basically, when you train beyond your body's ability to adapt in a positive way, you may experience feeling of fatigue and lack of energy but usually insomnia. You sleep more than 10 hours a day but yet still feel tired. While you sleep adequately, the quality of your sleep might be poor. If this is not the case, such excessive fatigue may be an indication that there is an underlying medical problem that is not attributed to your over-exercising. Due to your being active, you are unlikely suffering depression or stress. While you do not state your age, your level of physical activity suggests that you are likely young and active. Many young people suffer a virus infection known as "the kissing disease," referring to mononucleosis. A symptom of mononucleosis or mono is a thorough fatigue that you can't seem to get enough sleep to relieve it. If you are older, sleep apnea is common. This condition is associated with shallow breathing that occurs when your breathing stops momentarily during sleep and disrupts your normal sleep cycle. If someone tells you that you often snore loudly, you likely have sleep apnea. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Other possibilities are hypothyroidism (low thyroid level) or anemia (low blood level). Or, you may simply suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that is accompanied by severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions. There are many other causes of hypersomnia that I would recommend a visit with your primary care doctor who may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist to get a correct diagnosis.

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