Why Get 10+ Hours of Sleep?

My roommate regularly sleeps 9-10 hours each night on weekdays, and 10-12 on weekends. We’re both in good health, run several miles a day, three days a week. We’re both vegetarian. We’re both in mid-30s. We don’t drink much alcohol. We don’t smoke. We live in the country where it’s quiet.

What the heck’s going on here? Is it simply a case of having always done so, so she can’t stop? I’ve read that prison inmates sleep 14+ hours a day, but I hardly think that life with me is comparable.

Any suggestions as to why she needs so much sleep, and whether or not she could adjust to 8+ without constantly feeling drained?

Some people need more hrs of sleep then others. I think she is still in the ‘normal’ range but on the high side. But there could be other reasons such as something is preventing her from getting a ‘good’ sleep.

This could range from noise, mattress, or some sleeping disorder.

I feel best when I get at least 9 hours of sleep a night. Any less, and I feel groggy the next day. Mr. Athena, on the other hand, regularly gets by with 6-7, and can function quite well on 3-5 for a day or two. I think it has a lot to do with the individual.

This reminds me of a report I read in the New Scientist recently that suggests too much sleep significantly increases mortality rates. They concluded that the optimum amount is seven hours sleep per night. I will link to the report rather than copy out the details, but it is worth mentioning that many sleep experts dismiss the idea and stick with the more traditional idea that more sleep is better.

I aim for 7 hours per night. But I have chronic trouble sleeping, so many nights I only get around 5 hours, maybe less sometimes. Coffee is my friend.

If I sleep more than 8 hours, I feel just as tired as I did only getting 5 hours. I wonder why that is?

Now I don’t feel so bad about averaging five hours of sleep every night. :slight_smile:

shrug Not all God’s chillun need 8 hours. I had a teacher in high school who needed FOUR. Yes, four. He’d go to bed at 10, get up at 2am, go do a radio show, then come to school and teach. Weird part was that the guy was HUGE … probably 450lbs at one point, and really tall. You’d think someone that size would need lotsa sleep.

Me, I need about 9 or 10. I get about 6 on most nights, if I’m lucky. I compensate with naps.

Here’s a column where Cecil sort of addresses this.

Here’s another about oversleeping.

When I can, I go for as much as 12-14 hours of sleep. I wake up when my body wants to, and when I do I feel pretty good. I could function with less, like less than half that, and have done so for days on end. But I don’t feel as alert and it takes me longer to get going.

That’s just me, and it’s the way I’ve always been. Compounding that is the fact that I also am likely to have a massive sleep debt, having woken up at 5am for seven years, starting when I was in elementary school. I figure for all those years, I needed 10+ hours per night but got only 8. Eight hours sounds like a lot, but I still got two hours less per night than I needed.

Your roomie could adjust to 8 hours, but it’d have to be a very gradual change, and she’d have to be willing. I can’t answer for her if changing her sleeping patterns just so her hours logged matches yours is enough reason for her to do this. Keep in mind that a change in sleeping habits can be a stressful thing, especially if she doesn’t really want to do it. If it’s not causing any problems (for example, you want to go out but can’t because she’s snoozing), then I don’t think it’s necessary.

I know that teenagers and young adults are often champion sleepers - if you are in that age range, I would attribute it to that. Remember, adults aren’t fully-grown until they are 25 (when the final growth on the long-bones is completed). I imagine that as she gets older, her sleep requirements will change.

I would not rule out the possibility of sleeping disorder. All the exercise in the world and good eating might not prevent someone from suffering from sleep apnea or the like and maybe not even be aware of it.