Long Sleeping

Long sleeping is an uncommon sleeping finding or disorder characterized by the body’s insistence on remaining asleep for longer periods of time than would otherwise be deemed typical. This commonly results in 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night for people with the findings, and less than that leaves them feeling un-refreshed and sleepy throughout the day.

The disorder often begins in childhood, and last throughout the subject’s life. The sleep itself is very normal and deep. The disorder has not been connected to any genetic traits, medical conditions or psychological issues, and remains a relative mystery.

Most long sleepers will be forced to endure shorter than desired sleep durations to keep up with life’s demands, and this can cause numerous symptoms related to insomnia the next day. It also accrues into what is called a sleep debt, which is routinely paid back on weekends when long sleepers will sleep as long as 15 hours to get caught up on lost sleep. Other long sleepers will choose to fully accept the condition and live within its restraints, going to bed at a time early enough to allow for at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Long sleepers will often find it difficult to wake up to alarm clocks, and may be difficult to wake by others, and should ideally set aside enough sleep time so that the body wakes up when it is naturally refreshed.

Long sleeping has been found in approximately 2% of the population, with men at a slightly higher rate of having it than women. It may be difficult to first detect in children, as they routinely sleep more than adults, and are often not given free reign to sleep in as long as desired. Allowing a child to sleep in on weekends and measuring the time slept could be a good indication of the presence of this disorder, if it surpasses 10-12 hours.

A link has been found connecting long sleeping with introverted personality types, which may have to do with the release or lack thereof of certain chemicals in the brain, but no conclusive evidence has been found, nor is there a cure. Long sleepers are advised not to fight the disorder, as it may lead to the development of other sleeping disorders or medical issues, but to instead live within its constraints as well as is possible under their circumstance, and achieve the most sleep that they possibly can without neglecting other aspects of their lives.

The possibility exists that the disorder could be caused by depression or another medical condition, and if it has only recently started, then this is likely the case. In these situations, being examined by a doctor, and having a thorough check of your medical and sleep history performed may root out the problem. In these cases you may be asked to perform an overnight sleep study, or polysomnogram, to have any other sleeping disorders uncovered if they exist. In most cases, maintaining a sleep diary will be enough for the doctor to go on and make a diagnosis in your case.

If the long sleeping is being caused by another issue, that issue should be resolved as soon as possible, at which point the offending long sleeping should dissipate. If the long sleeping is the cause of natural biological rhythms, possible treatments are unknown, and since the level of sleep is of high quality, it is recommended to incorporate the long sleeping into the daily routine as best as possible. Attempting to avoid long sleeping, or staying aggressively awake could lead to other sleeping disorders such as a non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder, which are far more damaging to social relationships and professional careers than a couple of lost hours of awake time each day.


Reviewed September, 2007

25 thoughts on “Long Sleeping

  1. I regularly sleep 15+ hours a night. Sometimes sleeping last into the next day. And if my partner left me and didn’t wake (happened once or twice) I would sleep right through until 8pm or so the following day. I would then naturally awaken myself. I have been like this since childhood. And was extremely hard to waken as a child.

    1. Have you ever had any sleep related weirdness? Like overly vivid dreaming, repeated dream landscapes, or dreams about things that are part of your next day/week/month/year(s)? De-ja vu’s that are more than de ja vu’s? I am a long sleeper and this stuff happens to me all the time, when I was a kid they told me it was this or that, now that I’m an adult I can rationalise for myself what is coincedense and what is actually strange.

      1. Yes…i think of my dream life as my “other life”. People, places, etc. i’ve been too before in my dreams and have revisited quite a bit. I don’t know if it’s because i sleep alot and dream every night and that my mind has created another place, so to speak, that has people and places like my real life…that i can go to again.

      2. one time about a year ago, I had a dream of me waking up in redwood city, california and getting off my bed and looking to the right, towards the window.. the bed had a golden jet lighter and a blue comforter and the bed frame was an old fashoned one… and on the wall was a tv that had a big brown speaker on the bottom of it with an xbox below it.. and what was really weird was I was living in seattle, washington, in a room that I was sharing with my sister, and I had never been in the room that I woke up in neither did I have the things that I woke up with in the dream, but 5 months ago I woke up exactly how I did in the dream! It was mind blowing when I woke up and realized I had a dream exactly like this situation 7 months ago, and I fainted but now Im a long sleeper and have really vivid dream like this, like a few weeks ago I had a dream I was racing with exotic cars, I got out of my car and shrunk it so I could pick it up to walk up some stairs, but then it turned into an inception dream where I woke up in a kitchen looking for sodium hydroxide and phosphorous, I dont know why but the physics in that dream made it so if I put the two together it would explode, then I asked a girl where it could be then she said can you help me and I said of course this is my dream, then we both had dream sex then I woke up in another dream on the couch I was sleeping on when I originally fell asleep, so i thought this dream was real, then my dad was there and brought me to my room, and the more I looked at my room the more futuristic it got! first it was just a chair and a tv then a floating remote, I tried to pick up the remote and woke up in reality. that was only one dream! but my dad thinks I dont have this disorder but I am tired through out the day and have been needing 16+ hours of rest, and at least 14 hours of deep sleep

    2. Would be nice to email with someone who has this condition. I have it all my life and only just find now via this websight what i may
      Have. Its a relief.

    3. I wanted to sleep more than 6 hours, its just too difficult for me. My body automatically wakes me up early regrdless of what time I fell asleep.

    1. Well disorders are really just differenses in people that make there life qualety worse, because they dont work with how society curently is.
      So yhe they are just some people who needs more sleep.
      I think we should look at disorders a bit differently. A lot of people with disorders could work fine without help if they got in the right situation, like a fitting job, but not all ofcorse.

    2. trust me this is a disorder, you would know if you just need more sleep or if you have this disorder, imagine going to sleep one night at 9pm and waking the next with no energy what so ever at 3pm. wanting to sleep longer. that different then just needing a couple hours more of sleep.

  2. i sleep anywhere between 12-15 hours, when i have to sleep less i feel sick, i feel really tired to the point i can not function at school or work and i am falling asleep

  3. I sleep for 12 hrs a day regularly but I wake up some time when people around are so annoying, I dont really stand up and wake, I just try to sleep again, I dont like waking up in the morning because I feel like I get deprived hence I feel sad, when I dont get to have 12 hrs of sleep I get sad
    Yesterday, I slept for 15 hrs, I was tired and sleep deprived. Kinda feels unhealthy, because I skipped mealtimes

  4. Lately I have been sleeping 10-12 hrs a night, yesterday I got 12 hrs of sleep so I thought today maybe I would wake up earlier – nope! Another 12 hr sleep. I realized that when I was being forced o wake up early it would make me grumpy during the day. When I was a child I remember being woken by my ma but not getting out of bed because I was so lazy and didn’t feel refreshed at all, so I would have realistic dreams of waking up and moving on with my morning routine only to wake with 10 minutes to the bus. I guess I was just lazy. Could my excess sleeping pattern be related to o depression? My sister has depression but I have never been diagnosed.

    1. What if a person don’t sleep on time
      But when they sleep ,they sleep
      11 to 15 hours , sometimes 20 hours
      Is that normal?

      1. You would have what i have, where your body doesnt care what timeit is, either you go to sleep at 4pm and wake up and 9am or you go to sleep at 11pm and wake up at 3pm the next day
        it is not normal to need so much sleep neither is it normal to not sleep on time

  5. Thyroid problems can cause this. Have your thyroid checked by an integrative medical, not an endocrinologist. Also, Epstein Barr Virus, aka, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can affect sleep patterns, undersleeping or oversleeping, both unrefreshing sleep. Leaky gut, believe it or not can affect sleep. I have a partially empty sella, pituitary disorder that may be the cause as well.

  6. I’ve always slept for 11 hours each night and if I don’t get that then I am horribly drousy the rest of the day , my friends call me a party pooper for always going to bed early and nothing disturbeds me in the night. Its been like this since I was born. It’s hard to handle sometimes especially when I have to stay up late to work on school work and will sometimes fall asleep in school

  7. When given the chance, such as weekends, I fall asleep around 2-3 am, and sleep until 4 or 5 pm. If I have to wake up any earlier to go somewhere or do something, I go back to bed for another few hours when I get home to catch up. A nap to me is 3-4 hours. However, on school nights/weekdays I can fall asleep at 2am, wake up at 5:40am, and function perfectly throughout the day (I also take naps in some classeS), but I’m tired as soon as I get home. I too always thought I was just lazy. I always have an overwhelming feeling of being unable to get out of bed unless I’ve slept an adequate amount.

    1. Sounds like you have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome if you are not able to sleep until 2am. The reason you sleep so long on the weekends is because your body is seeking to make up the sleep deficit you incur during the week. You need to see a sleep specialist and seek a formal diagnosis, as DSPD cannot be cured, and knowledge is power. Being diagnosed young means you can pick the right career for this disorder, and you won’t end up health issues from chronic sleep deprivation.

  8. I dunno for the past year or so I have been sleeping 10-12 hours each night well not really night I guess, most days I sleep during the day, it’s the only way I get enough sleep as I will just stay up all night if i don’t force myself to sleep right after school. This has been making my social and school life harder

  9. I’m 17 years old and lately I’ve been getting way too much sleep. I’ve been heavily studying for exams, which has been causing me to get 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Now that exams are over, I’ve been coming home from school and laying in bed until I fall asleep, meaning I’ll sleep from 5 PM to 5 AM (yikes), but I’ll wake up once or twice between that time. I don’t fight the urge because it feels natural for some reason. I’m the type of person that becomes grouchy if I don’t get 7 hours of sleep or more. Also, my psychologist has mentioned that I have minor depression, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with my new sleep cycle.

  10. I never knew other people had this issue for lack of a better term. I have since a teenage had long sleeps as they are called here. NOw that I am no longer a working parent (ie retired), I find that I cannot keep up with my peers who do many things in a day, as I don’t wake up until 12-15 hours after going to bed and they have already played tennis, shopped met friends etc.

    I do suffer from depression but believe that part of my depression is because of my long sleeps stopping me from enjoying life.

    Would it be a good idea to take ADHD meds or modafinil type meds?

  11. I have this condition, and so unlike my peers (in their 60’s), I do not accomplish a great deal in my waking time, party because this waking time is so brief. Would it be a good idea to take ADHD meds or modanifil?

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