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November 1, 2012

Are you tired from...too much sleep?

A bad night's sleep can leave you feeling pretty tired the next day. Put a string of those together and nagging fatigue starts to set in.

Getting good sleep, in the right amount, can make a big difference in how you feel. Too little or too much sleep can increase your perception of fatigue. And even if you get enough hours of sleep, you might find yourself dragging the next day if that sleep was interrupted by frequent awakenings or was of poor quality.

Although most of us need about eight hours a night to feel refreshed during the day, what counts as sufficient sleep is highly individual. It makes sense that getting less sleep than you need might leave you feeling tired, but you may be surprised to learn that getting more sleep than you need may not leave you refreshed and energized. In fact, many people find that on days when they hit the snooze button more times than usual, they feel more lethargic and unmotivated.

Research bears out the connection between too much sleep and too little energy. It appears that any significant deviation from normal sleep patterns can upset the body's rhythms and increase daytime fatigue. The best solution is to figure out how many hours of sleep are right for you and then stick with it — even on weekends, vacations, and holidays.

For more information on the role of sleep in feeling energized, purchase Boosting Your Energy from Harvard Medical School.