Long Sleepers: Why Some People Sleep More than Others


Written by Rebecca Levi

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Breus

Our Editorial Process

Table of Contents

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 GroupAgeRecommended Hours of Sleep
School-Aged Children 6-12 years9-11 hours
Teenagers 13-18 years8-10 hours
Young Adults 18-25 years7-9 hours
Adults26-64 years7-9 hours
Older Adults Over 65 years7-8 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.

About The Author

Rebecca Levi

Staff Writer, Sleep Health

With a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Indiana University Bloomington, Rebecca enjoys making accurate, up-to-date health information accessible to all readers. As a freelance writer and editor, she has covered everything from healthcare and experimental music to education. Rebecca lives in Tennessee, where she spends her free time reading, writing fiction, and making music.

  • POSITION: Side Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Cold Sleeper
  • CHRONOTYPE: Dolphin

Ask the Sleep Doctor

Have questions about sleep? Submit them here! We use your questions to help us decide topics for articles, videos, and newsletters. We try to answer as many questions as possible. You can also send us an emailPlease note, we cannot provide specific medical advice, and always recommend you contact your doctor for any medical matters.