American Sleep Association

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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174 comments on “Long Sleeping”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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, 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.

  6. 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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