Long Sleeping

  • Woman with long sleeping disorder

Long sleeping is an uncommon sleep finding or disorder characterized by the body’s inclination to remain asleep for longer periods of time than would otherwise be deemed typical. This often results in 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night for people with the disorder. Less than that leaves them feeling unrefreshed and sleepy throughout the day.

The disorder often begins in childhood and lasts 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.

The Characteristics of Long Sleepers

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. Ideally, they should set aside enough sleep time so that the body wakes up when it is naturally refreshed.

How Common is Long Sleeping

Long sleeping has been found in approximately 2 percent of the population, with men at a slightly higher rate of having it than women. It may be difficult to  detect in children because 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 to 12 hours).

The Difference Between Long Sleep and Short Sleep

Short sleepers are people who generally sleep less than 6 or 7 hours per night. They often have difficulty getting an average amount of sleep. Short sleepers feel refreshed and generally do not experience daytime sleepiness with this decreased amount of sleep.

Woman long sleeping

Long Sleeping and Other Findings

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. 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. Instead, they should try to live within its constraints as well as they can. This means achieving as much sleep as possible without neglecting other aspects of their lives.

The disorder could be caused by depression or another medical condition. If it has only recently started, this is likely the case. In these situations, medical examinations, as well as a thorough check of your medical and sleep history may root out the problem. Maintaining a sleep diary will often be enough for the doctor to make a diagnosis, although you may be asked to perform an overnight sleep study, or polysomnogram, to have any other sleep disorders uncovered. 

If the long sleeping is being caused by another issue, that issue should be resolved as soon as possible to see results quickly. If the long sleeping is the cause of natural biological circadian rhythm, possible treatments are unknown. 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. The 24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder is one example. This disorder is far more damaging to social relationships and professional careers than a couple of lost hours of awake time each day.

Overall, long sleeping isn’t detrimental to your health if properly managed. There are ways to work around it and get an average amount of sleep each day. If you suspect that you may be suffering from long sleeping disorder, consult your medical doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis and treatment solution.

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198 thoughts on “Long Sleeping

  1. Carolyn Reply

    I am a 57 year-old-woman and remember all through high school having to be in bed by 9 pm so I get up at the early 6 am. I’ve always needed 9 -10 hours of sleep a night. I worked a lot of afternoon jobs when I was younger and working. It just seemed to work better. I also lost my husband a year and a half ago to a sudden heart attack. Just very recently, I have been sleeping 11-12 hours a night. I feel very, very tired when I go to bed and during the day and I feel rested when I wake but I have been crying a lot. Is this depression or a pattern of long sleeping in my whole life? I’ve had depression for many years too but medication helped very well. I also have sleep apnea and use my machine regularly.

  2. Lynne Saul Reply

    i feel so bad for those of you who are sleeping their lifes away . i have had 5 sleep studies and nothing has shown.for years now it takes me quite awhile to fall asleep and when i do i fall into a coma like sleep 10 to 15 hrs and a wake up so ill, like i fought a war. i know the hypothalmus regulates our sleep , can any of you kind souls recommend a sleep specialist who deals with sleeping disorders being caused by the brain? I HAVE NO QUALITY OF LIFE. I WANT TO LIVE AGAIN. ANY HELP AT ALL WOULD BE APPRECIATED MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER KNOW. WITH LOTS OF LOVE AND GRATITUDE, LYNNE XOXOXO I LIVE IN BROOKLYN AND MOST OF MY DRS. ARE FROM MT. SINAI HOSPITAL

  3. Frances Reply

    I am a 39 yr old female. I have always been a sleeper: as a two year old I would put myself down for naps, I was never the kid to get up for Saturday morning cartoons, and I still look forward to days I can take a nap. I don’t yet have kids, but I do work close to 50 hours a week. I can function well on a solid 8 hours when I manage my nutrition and activity well. My ideal is 10 hours every day, either as 8 with a nap or all together. I have slept solid up to 14 hours just on a regular, non ill, night. I would love to craft a schedule that would allow me to start work later than ‘normal’.

    • Nicky Reply

      Hi Francis, we are of identical age and situation and I’d love to chat with you direct.

  4. Maryanne M. Reply

    I experience the same long sleep as others have described in this thread. I have never heard the term ‘long sleep’ but seem to have always experienced it! I percolate better when I go to bed sometime between 12:00am-3:00am and get up around 10:00am-noon. Always able to take 1,2,or 3 hour naps) I’ve been this way since 7-8th grade and I’m now 67 years old. I’ve been told I suffer from circadian rhythm disorder and recently diagnosed with mild sleep apnea which I have up to six ‘stop breathing’ episodes per hour plus my blood oxygen levels drop into low 80s. I’ve been prescribed a CPAP that I wear at night. I always had difficulty getting up for school plus work – always! Going to bed earlier at night (just laid in bed awake), took Ambien (laid in bed & watched the clock), I incorporated better bedroom health-no TV/electronic devices 30 mins prior to bedtime(never helped). Nothing I did seemed to help. I feel slightly more rested using CPAP since AUG2021

  5. T Reply

    I used to get up early, 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM. I woke up refreshed and ready to eat breakfast. Didn’t even need afternoon naps. Approx 30 yrs ago, this changed when I got a new partner. He loved sleeping-in. I began to enjoy this as well. Now I wake up to use the restroom, and go straight back to bed. I fall asleep immediately. I have vivid dreams, and notice I’m falling asleep just as soon as I start to “complete the same dream’. (Like watching a video, and wake up in the middle to complete my “movie”). I often remember my dreams. Sometimes, I’ll dream the same dream. (Like watching re-runs of a television show).
    Now, I sleep through my alarm, wake up groggy, after 11 hours! I forget to eat breakfast and sometimes even lunch! I’ve lost my hunger sensation. Q: Does oversleeping injure the brain? I know I’m sleeping too long, but I love being in my bed!

    • Megan Reply

      To me it sounds like your experiencing closer symptoms to depression. Sleeping long, waking up tired, missing meals, always wanting to be in bed. I don’t know if the rest of your life fits a depression diagnoses or not, but you are definitely not a long sleeper if you wake up after 11 hours and are groggy, we wake up after 11 hours and are either refreshed for the day or still haven’t gotten enough sleep and need to continue. But to specifically answer your question yes, over sleeping if not good for you and can cause depression, and a whole slew of sleep disorders including non 24 hour circadian which I promise you don’t want to have. I would recommend forcing yourself to only get 8 hours.

  6. Jill Reply

    I have been a “long sleeper” all my life. I remember when in high school I would come home and sleep a couple hours until supper time, eat, do homework and back to bed for another 9-10 hours of sleep. When I had babies (4 of them!) I was exhausted all of the time because I couldn’t sleep as needed. Then when they grew up and I went to work I had literally NO time to do the things other than work or sleep. Now that I’m retired, I enjoy 10-12 hours each night, feeling so great, productive and rested in the 12 remaining hours I have. Unfortunately, I a mated with a man who is a short sleeper who cannot understand my condition. He views it as “wasted time”. He normally sleeps around 5 hours a night and sometimes even skips nights. I love my earplugs!! LOL

  7. Jen P Reply

    I typically need 10 hours. Then twice a month or so I have longer sleep periods where I sleep 14-22 hours a day for anywhere from 3 days to 10 days. After that I feel more rested. Leading into a long sleep I get increasingly groggy and have impaired cognition and mild aphasia. It’s a very disruptive condition for me.

  8. PS Reply

    I can relate so much to this and what other people experience. I wish our societies could be more accommodating to people like me who can’t function in the morning. I am 26. I sleep around 11 hours on average, 10 is the bare minimum. I feel terrible and exhausted if I have to wake up to an alarm. I feel so good if I get the sleep I need. I could not handle 9-6 working hours, I was exhausted all the time and it affected my productivity, I can’t handle such long hours every day, a one off occasion would be fine. I am a night person and I go to bed around midnight on average and sleep until lunch time. I can never understand how people can function on 6-8 hours and what they’d do with all that extra time. I’ve decided to freelance so that I can work at my own timing and shorter hours and also have much more autonomy over my work. When I’m not working office hours and can sleep in every day, I feel so much better, it is amazing.

    I needed more sleep since puberty and it worsened with depression in the past few years. Was sleep deprived throughout teenage years because of school demands and hours and it did my body and mind a lot of damage. I’ve done an overnight sleep study and everything was normal, the doctors couldn’t diagnose or do anything to help me. The only way I’ve found is to adjust my lifestyle around my sleep.

  9. Linda L Sidney Reply

    I find myself sleeping 10 to 11 sometimes 12 hours mostly 10 till 11 though and I feel terrible when I wake up and I also feel guilty and it just takes half of my day away I don’t know what to do I cannot take medications and I might have sleep apnea I don’t know I’m scared it’s bad on my brain especially I had to buy a wristband overnight and it said that I had interrupted breathing several times through the night but I cannot stand the thought of wearing one of those meth I have claustrophobia

  10. Elaine Goldman Reply

    I have been a long sleeper all my life & I am now 67. I sleep anywhere from 10-14 hours. I’m not depressed. When I wake up I feel great. I am very active once I’m up so I’m not lazy although many believe it’s laziness. I’m glad to know there are others & that it isn’t detrimental to my health. Luckily my husband is an early riser to take care of any chores.

  11. Anonymous Reply

    I sleep 12 hours almost every night, any less sleep, or if I use an alarm clock makes me feel like I’m waking up and trying to lift myself out of the weight of an elephant. It’s horrible.

  12. Jacklyn Crivello Reply

    I just got done sleeping 36 hrs. could sleep longer if i let my self. but i have thing to do.

    • Xavier Taylor Reply

      Me too. If I had a week off and no-reposnsibilities I’m sure I could sleep for longer. I just get up to empty my bladder, and then striaght back to sleep. Problem I have is even after 36 hours, I feel groggy and sleepy. I reckon I have had this condition for over 30 years, since being in my late teens. I would love to be able to get into a routine, getting up at reasonable-o-clock every day, but so far I have failed miserably.

  13. Jennifer Reply

    I am a 33 year old woman and I have always been a long sleeper. 11 hours on average is typical but only because I am forced out of bed. I am still exhausted at that point. I am very happy and not depressed. I can force myself to get up for work but it is extremely difficult and I often do not feel that I truly wake up and recover fully from my state of tiredness if I did not get around 12. You really lose a lot of life and that can be sucky – but it doesn’t take the enjoyment out of life. I am certainly an introvert anyway. I have many people I love and close relationships but I am okay with time slipping away as long as I manage to attend to life and daily functions. If I can only sleep 8 hours a day and work 5 days a week, I will actually be forced to pay back this “sleep debt” which has been recorded at around (or over at times) 24 hours. These jaunts of sleep are never planned but are regretted by me when I wake up. The sleep is a solid block without disruption of any kind. I will not wake up and roll over and go back to sleep. That is actually what I do when I am really tired but have a weird dream that I don’t like. That sucks too. You would think I would just wake up and get out of bed. Nope.

    • Jacklyn Crivello Reply

      I too have had the same thing. I am now 71 and can sleep as lone as i want but the laslast 2day only go like 6 hrs. and yhat is when the 36 hrs, kick in. I felvery sorry for you as I know how you feel

  14. elizabeth betsch Reply

    I am 58 years old and I sleep 10-11 hours a night. I do not wake up with energy. If I have to get up to an alarm clock I feel awful all day. My sleep is a semi conscious state on and off. I have been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea but I cannot sleep with a CPAP mask. Is there anything I can take to become a more efficient sleeper?

    I feel like I am sleeping my life away.

  15. Candice menzemer Reply

    I sleep 8 to 10 hours a night. I also take a nap in the afternoon. What’s wrong with me.

  16. Kaylea Reply

    I’m certain that this is me. However I was wondering if a study has been done on:

    The long sleeper getting their satisfactory amount of sleep, whilst staying awake 17-19 hours a day also.

    Meaning their rhythm would be something like 17:10 = awake:asleep. This would obviously force the person to adjust to a routine that is longer than the 24hour cycle (a 27hour cycle in this case).

    I ask because I’m currently getting my 10 hours every night, but I find it difficult to go to bed at the same time everyday. I feel it is because I have not been awake long enough and still have residue energy in my circadian rhythm. Especially because the time of day doesn’t seem to matter much to me when I need to sleep.

  17. Holly Nave Reply

    So my question is how does us long sleepers deal with the heath risk. They say that sleeping to long is not good for ur body. I sleep 12-15 hours a day

  18. Vinnie Liotta Reply

    Phew. I am not alone!! Lol. I am 56 and have always loved my bed!! I currently sleep 11-12 hrs a night if left and also have a quick (30 min ) nap in the day! I am on antidepressants but it’s the same without meds. I have to say I do love snuggling up under the quilt…what’s not to like? But I would love to be able to function on fewer hours sleep. I have worked shifts and always got to work on time. I even did night shifts but I looked like one of the Undead every morning and suffered. Am otherwise healthy but I have to get the zzzzs in.

  19. Madara Reply

    Actually since I was 5years old my normal sleep hours would be 11-12h. And I never understood how people wake up at 9am as if it’s a normal thing. And everytime they tried to wake me up I asked why THEY don’t Want to sleep. They just said they ‘want to’ wake up??? And even now I have difficulties waking up if I don’t sleep for 11-12h. If I want to sleep for 10 I just can’t force myself to wake up… It never was a problem for me as I thought that I just accept the fact that I’ll have less day time than any other person. And now reading that there is a SMALL part of population going through this, it explains a lot and I am rather proud that I’m in these %. I also remember how I went to sleep on Thursday and with 5 min breaks each day I somehow woke up in Sunday. Not going to lie, I felt good. I didn’t even wake up hungry.

  20. Ernie Reply

    I’ve had enough, and it’s affected my life style. I’m 49 and can easily sleep 15 plus hours straight and after being up for one hour I can do another 15. I’m sleepy 24hrs a day but only fall asleep when I hit the bed. Doctor has no answer, but I’m missing out on the kids activities which is horrible. My longest non wake up was 22.5 hrs straight. Sleeping with my CPAP hasn’t done anything to elevate this problem

  21. Monte Reply

    I found this article while trying to figure out why I sleep so much. As a child I would sleep long hours, often not being able to woken up till I was ready to wake. I would be “ dead to the world” as my father would say. I always had the issue with wanting to sleep long hours. I could force myself awake to get things done like work, school, children and everyday things all the while being exhausted. But by the end of the week or my days off I would sleep for 12-16 hours maybe more. Seaming to catch up on lost hours. The past few years I been trying to figure things out. Was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD and fibromyalgia. Not sure if these have anything to do with the off sleep I’ve had over the years. I’ve been tested for anemia, thyroid problems, CT scans, MRI…..you name it. The doctors are stumped. I been placed on different meds to help with my other issues and medication to help me stay away or give me energy. However, they have run their course and no longer work. This article made me think that what I have may just be who I am. I feel better knowing I’m not the only one that suffers from this. I hope one day they could help us all.

  22. Lee Studley Reply

    I’m 55. I have always been a night owl. I usually go to sleep in the range of 9-midnight, and can easily sleep until 11am the next morning if I don’t set about 3 alarms staggered.
    Luckily I have had creative jobs that mostly tolerate my lateness into work. I think they know that I will produce good work and do what is needed to get things done. But, if I want to move more actively into management, this is a detriment: as those types always seem to want to have meetings at 8am and it takes me an hour to drive to work.
    My mom was like this too, but as she got over 65 she became more ‘normal’ in sleep hours. Some people look at their watches when I come in, but they aren’t around at 7pm or later when I’m finishing up. On weekends I will go to bed about 11pm and sleep till 11am. It takes me a bit to ‘start processing’ in the mornings, so if my wife talks to me in this waking state, her words go in one ear and out the other mostly. I have used cpap machine for the past 2years and that has helped my overall restfulness, but not the duration of sleep.

    I have extremely vivid multi chapter dreams that often have sequels in later weeks or months. I remember most of these dreams. As someone noted: It does feel like a whole other life but the plots are usually rooted in my earlier life experiences twisted odd in ways.
    Not sure if it’s a gift or a curse. I’ve always been called creative and similar, so I chalk it up to a side effect of that.

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