By Eric Stengle
When it comes to sleep disorders, some are more common than others. I’m sure you’ve heard of sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and insomnia. But, have you ever heard of long sleeping?
Long sleeping is a rare disorder that is described as a body’s proclivity to sleeping for longer stretches of time than that of a normal, healthy sleeper. Often, a long sleeper will not feel refreshed if they do not receive at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night.
This uncommon sleep disorder will usually start in a persons’ childhood, and last throughout their life. The sleep they get is considered normal and deep; they just need more of it to feel rested the next day. So far, long sleeping has not been affiliated with any kind of genetic traits, medical conditions, or psychological issues. The cause of long sleeping is, essentially, still a mystery.
Symptoms of Long Sleep Disorder
The world doesn’t work around the type of sleep schedule a long sleeper would like. As such, they often must wake before they have reached the amount of sleep that leaves them feeling rested. According to the American Sleep Association, this can cause symptoms that are similar to those of insomnia. These symptoms include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Trouble concentrating
Because they must adjust their sleep patterns to be productive in society, long sleepers will also accrue what is known as sleep debt. Long sleepers will try and pay back their sleep debt over the weekend when they will commonly sleep as long as 15 or more hours at a time.
Some long sleepers will adjust their lives around the restraints of the disorder by making sure they can get to bed at an early enough time to allow for at least 10 hours of sleep at night.
Is Long Sleeping Common?
The American Sleep Association states that around two percent of the population are thought to be long sleepers. Men seem to be afflicted at a slightly higher rate than women.
Long sleep symptoms start in childhood, but they can be difficult to detect at that time because children naturally sleep more than adults. Nor are they usually given free rein to sleep as much as they would desire.
Is Long Sleeping Associated with Other Conditions/Issues?
According to Psychology Today,introverted people tend to need more sleep than those who are extroverted. This may be due to the release, or lack thereof, of different chemicals produced in the brain. However, no conclusive scientific evidence has been found proving that the two are linked.
For people who have had long sleep since childhood, there is currently no cure for the disorder. It is a part of your internal makeup. If this is true for you, it is best to not fight the disorder. To do so could result in the development of another type of sleep disorder or medical problem. Instead, try and live within the constraints of the disorder as well as you can. Try and adjust your plans and schedule around the fact that you need more sleep to function well.
If the long sleep disorder started later in life, it may be caused by depression or another medical condition. If this is the case, a thorough medical examination and check of your medical and sleep history can help determine where the disorder is coming from. If you feel like you suffer from a late-onset long sleep disorder, schedule an appointment with your doctor or sleep specialist to get to the root of the problem. Resolving other issues can help your long sleep issues to dissipate. You can make the process quicker by keeping a sleep journal for at least two weeks before your scheduled appointment.
If you are a long sleeper or feel as though your sleep health is suffering in some form, we can help. Family Sleep Diagnostics provides a thorough diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Call us at (972) 714-0011 or schedule an appointment online at Family Sleep Diagnostics.