Posted by: Nicolene | 2012/09/04

Too much sleep

Hi, I am very worried aboutmy sister. She is 33 and single. She goes to bed very late during the week and every morning she struggles to get up and only goes to work late at 10:00 or so in the morning. But then on weekends she stays in her payamas the whole day and sleeps the whole day. I live in CT and she in JHB, she does not wake up from a cell phone or the radio, i can phone non-stop she will not wake up. She can sleep till 18:00 on a Saturday or Sunday without fail and without oce getting up! It is as if she has turned her nights and days around? Obviously when i speak to her about it, she gets upset.... Could she be depressed? How can we get her to turn her nights and days around?

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Our expert says:
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She certainly could be depressed, but there could be various other reasons for this. You will not be able to help her if she does not want to be helped, though.

If you can convince her to see a doctor, and perhaps you can voice your concerns to the doctor before she sees him, that would be a good first step. He would then be able to start things going in the right direction.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Jason | 2012/09/06

She doesn''t sound depressed, but her days and nights are definitely turned around. Nothing " wrong"  with that per se, but it sounds like it is bound to affect her job and normal social life. Probably a good idea for her to gradually re-program her body clock by going to bed slightly earlier during the week and making a point of getting out more over weekends. The decision must be hers. My advice? Leave her be - she''ll soon get fed up with being exhausted during the workday and wasting valuable weekends sleeping.

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Posted by: david | 2012/09/06

Unless she''s about to lose her job, then stop trying to " turn it around" . Maybe that''s who she is, accept it, love her for it, and like a good sister HELP her to live her life in a way that makes her happy and to be herself.

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Posted by: david | 2012/09/06


I have similar sleeping patterns to your sister. I have made it work for me by working for myself from home. You''re right to be concerned about depression, but I think you might be judging her as if this is some moral failure. There is nothing wrong with it that is what she likes, and if she can find work that accepts this. She might be getting upset because you seem to be approaching it from a judgmental perspective. Stop trying to phone her to wake her up while she''s sleeping, I would find that incredibly annoying - imagine she kept trying to phone you at 3 am to try wake you up - maybe that''s why she is annoyed, because you keep trying to phone her when you know she is asleep. My friends/family know that I like to sleep during the day, that my phone will be off, and that''s the end of the story.

Reply to david
Posted by: david | 2012/09/06

" I find if my eating habits are keeping my glycogen stores full then that is when the fatigue is the worst" 

The effect of this is that if I''ve been low-carbing for a few days (i.e. have low glycogen stores) I can high-carb it for another day or two without feeling the fatigue, then suddenly by day two or three of high-carbing the fatigue kicks in. This initially confused me, because it prevented me from seeing the pattern between my carbohydrate intake and my energy levels - e.g. it would seem random, i.e. it seemed that sometimes carbs make me tired, sometimes not. Now I see why.

Of course other things like low blood pressure, dehydration and low electrolyte levels can also make you feel tired, making it harder to see why you are feeling tired. So what I also do is try keep well hydrated, and also if I start feeling tired, especially if it feels like low blood pressure, I have some rehydration salts / electrolyte solution (you can get these in sachets / powder form from pharmacies etc.). You''ve got to have a multi-pronged strategy for dealing effectively with fatigue at all its possible causes.

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Posted by: david | 2012/09/06

Also, in general, I find just letting myself be a ''a little bit hungry'' tends to produce an OK energy level, and I avoid eating carbs before I need to work. If you''re hungry, eating food that is high-protein but avoiding carbs at the same time can help, if I''m avoiding carbs I can eat a lot of high-protein food.

When your body is digesting carbohydrates, basically any modern high-carb meal (e.g. a sandwich or two) has too much for the human body, and your body works to store the excess, including in your liver, as glycogen. When you''re at that point where you start getting a ''little bit hungry'', and your blood sugar starts to feel low (e.g. you may feel a little bit shaky), your body will start using the stores in your liver (drink lots of water at this time, but you don''t need to eat) - that is fine, this is about when I''ll have the most ''normal'' energy levels. If I keep eating too much carbs, the glycogen stores get ''full'' and that is when you start storing fat. The glycogen stores can last you anything from an hour (e.g. if exercising) to a day or so depending on what you''re doing. When they''re depleted for some time then if you still don''t eat, your body will start trying to switch to ketosis i.e. fat or muscle burning based metabolism (which is good if you''re trying to lose weight, but since you''re 55kg you do not want that). I find if my eating habits are keeping my glycogen stores full then that is when the fatigue is the worst, but I can eat carbs with half-full glycogen stores. If your glycogen stores are permanently full it can cause something called metabolic syndrome, which can cause fatigue and lead to diabetes etc. Don''t worry about eating fat, eating fat is perfectly fine as long for someone already so light, it''s good for you.

Reply to david
Posted by: david | 2012/09/06

@Daniel le Grange

" Funny enough the less I eat the more energetic I feels" 

You are on the right track with this, but I suggest stop the Bioplus. I used to, like you, suffer from a lot of fatigue all the time, and eventually I discovered that it was from eating high-carbohydrate foods (anything high-carb, from breakfast cereals to bread .. even a single sandwich can make me feel like falling asleep) ... since I''ve started managing my carbohydrate intake, I have much more energy. The science backs this, but the science hasn''t made it into mainstream nutritional analysis and advice. Bioplus is high in carbs. It sounds counter-intuitive, because sugar/carbohydrates are supposed to be your energy source, but try it, seriously. Understanding how the body stores and metabolizes carbohydrates has allowed me to manage my fatigue problem. I now try eat something that''s a cross between a low-carb diet and a Paleo diet. Also Google something called " intermittent fasting"  and the latest scientific studies on it.

Reply to david
Posted by: wr | 2012/09/06

In response to the above question (and also to Daniel)
There might be depression, but also chronic fatique. I have walked the latter road and doctors do basically one of two things - give anti-depressants or, if one objects to that, which I did due to some negative family history, they give you a strong multivitamin.
Not every doctor understands chronic fatique because there is not really any test that will be conclusive on it. In my case the doctor had some knowledge about it (I think he went through it himself) and aggreed and gave me Gericomplecs, which is a strong vitamin supplement and requires a prescription. I am using it now for several years and it helps. He also indicated that:

(1) I need to get enough regular sleep (not one day awake till 12 midnight and then try to make up the next day for the lost sleep).

(2) Watch what I am eating and stay away where possible from to many wheat products (I have switched to the German 100% rye bread), products with yeast, coffee, soft drinks with caffeine, alcohol (I do not drink any), highly processed foods.

(3) Have regular balanced meals and where possible some excercise.

Another point (not from the doctor) is re-organise / re-schedule your work load / daily activities. This is not easy but needs to be done if you start to use sleep to hide from work or start to cut out some daily activities in order to cope.
One can recover from it but it takes one step at a time.

Reply to wr
Posted by: Dave | 2012/09/06

All of the above could be suffering from Narcolepsy, a very treatable condition.

Visit a doctor (sleep specialist/neurologist), get it diagnosed and then get on with a normal life.

Reply to Dave
Posted by: Worried | 2012/09/06

I have a male friend like that too. But I suspect his problem has something to do with narcotics, as well as depression. I don''t think it''s normal, unless you''re a teenager, to sleep all the time.

Good luck.

Reply to Worried
Posted by: info | 2012/09/06

check out Youngevity Products Beyond Tangy Tangerine ...

Reply to info
Posted by: Cp | 2012/09/06

this too much sleep could mean not just depression also can mean she could have a thyroid problem or ME desease or something like one of those that cause you to be fatigue and want to sleep all day, she should go to dr and blood tests to resolve this you cant assume she has depression she may have health issues.

Reply to Cp
Posted by: Daniel le Grange | 2012/09/06

I also suffer from fatigue. I live on bioplus daily as I always feel tired. Funny enough the less I eat the more energetic I feels. I noticed that during the recent fast. I asked my doctor numerous times why I always feel tired and they just say it is on depression. I have been on depression medication for almost seven years and I still feel constantly tired. The Dr also said it might be a side effect of the anti depressants. Needless to say there is nothing medically you can take for chronic fatigue, well that is my conclusion as all the doctors I went to says I must get a energy tonic. So now I live on bioplus and I eat very small portions of meals which is kind of dangerous as my weight is 55 kg for 1.75m male.

Any additional advise will be appreciated!

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