Long sleepers are people who sleep significantly longer than what is expected for their age. While sleep needs vary among people, even in the same age group, long sleepers spend far more time resting each night than the recommended hours of sleep.
As many as 2% of all people are long sleepers. For some, longer sleep times are natural and needed to feel well-rested. For others, sleeping too long can be a sign of an underlying health issue.
If you regularly sleep longer than expected, you may have questions about whether your sleep schedule is normal or a cause for concern. It can be helpful to learn about the possible causes of long sleep and when to talk with a doctor about your sleep patterns.
What Is a Long Sleeper?
Long sleepers need more hours of sleep than other people with similar characteristics. Ten or more hours of sleep a night is considered long sleep in adults. Among children and adolescents, long sleepers are those who consistently need two or more hours of sleep when compared to others in their age group.
- School-aged children: Long sleepers need over 12 hours of sleep per day.
- Teenagers: Long sleepers need over 11 hours of sleep per day.
- Young adults: Long sleepers need over 11 hours of sleep per day.
- Adults: Long sleepers need over 10 hours of sleep per day.
- Older adults: Long sleepers need over 9 hours of sleep per day.
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on their lifestyle, health, age, and their recent sleep habits. How long a person sleeps is also influenced by their genetics as well as their routines and culture. In general, experts recommend a certain number of hours of sleep per day based on a person’s age.
|Age Group||Age||Recommended Hours of Sleep|
|School-aged children||6-12 years||9-11 hours|
|Teenagers||13-18 years||8-10 hours|
|Young adults||18-25 years||7-9 hours|
|Adults||26-64 years||7-9 hours|
|Older Adults||Over 65 years||7-8 hours|
Causes of Long Sleeping
Occasional periods of long sleep are natural responses to certain situations. For example, sleeping for longer than usual is a helpful way to make up for insufficient or poor-quality sleep. Increased sleep times are also common after a mentally or physically demanding task.
Consistently sleeping for long periods may be a sign that a person is a naturally long sleeper or a symptom of an underlying health condition.
Natural long sleepers typically start needing more time for sleep during their childhood. When they get their preferred amount of sleep, these individuals wake up feeling well-rested and don’t experience significant sleepiness during the day.
In people who aren’t naturally long sleepers, an increased need for sleep may be due to a medical issue. It’s normal to sleep longer when the body is fighting an infection. Long sleep can also be a symptom of a number of conditions, including depression and sleep apnea.
Can Being a Long Sleeper Affect Your Health?
Research suggests that long sleep times may be associated with health complications. But more research is necessary to understand if these risks apply to naturally long sleepers or only to people who sleep longer because of underlying health issues.
Even if a person appears to be a naturally long sleeper and doesn’t have any concerning symptoms, doctors may still recommend testing to ensure that an underlying medical issue isn’t affecting their sleep patterns.
How Long Sleepers Are Diagnosed
There is no specific test to find out if a person is a naturally long sleeper. Instead, doctors diagnose long sleepers by ruling out other health conditions and factors that influence the length of sleep. A doctor may recommend that people concerned about their sleep length start by keeping a sleep journal to track the length and quality of their rest.
A doctor may also ask questions about daytime symptoms to help differentiate a naturally long sleeper from long sleep caused by something else.
Although testing can rule out other causes of long sleep times, the pattern and quality of sleep in naturally long sleepers is similar to that of an average person. Naturally long sleepers typically find their sleep restorative.
Tips for Long Sleepers
If you regularly get more sleep than what’s recommended for your age group, talk to your doctor about whether you may be a naturally long sleeper. Your doctor may ask questions and recommend testing to determine if your long sleep times are normal or caused by an underlying health issue.
Prior to your appointment, you may want to consider several tips to help your doctor better understand your sleep habits.
- Keep a sleep journal: A sleep journal can help you to track how much you’re sleeping. Try keeping a sleep journal for 7 to 14 days, and be sure to record when you fall asleep and when you wake up.
- Ask loved ones about your sleep history: Naturally long sleepers often have a history of an increased need for sleep that dates back to their childhoods. If you’re unsure of your sleep history, it may be helpful to talk to people who knew you when you were a child.
- Make a note if you feel refreshed in the morning: Naturally long sleepers often wake up feeling refreshed, even after a long night of sleep. Take note of how you feel after waking up and record it in your sleep journal or discuss it with your doctor.
Track daytime sleepiness: Be sure to keep track of any other daytime symptoms of sleep issues, like daytime sleepiness, difficulty with focus or concentration, or taking regular daytime naps. This can help doctors rule out an underlying health condition as the cause of your long sleep.