The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

Do I Sleep Too Much?

by Claire

I am big sleeper. I like getting anywhere from 9-11 hours of sleep. Even 12 hours every so often. I've read that if you sleep too much you will also have troubles falling asleep, and being tired during the day and what not. However I do not experience any such issues.

I'm 18, nearly 19, and have always been someone who needs a lot of sleep. I'm overly cranky when I don't get enough. 7 hours or less and I'm a huge cow, 8 hours and I'm still sleepy during the day. On average I would say I get 10 hours a day. I can always fall asleep on command, never wake up before I need to, have vivid dreams, my only concern is that it is so much more than most people.

Thank you

Kevin: Hey Claire, thanks for writing in. Sleeping a lot consistently should definitely not make you tired during the day, but just the opposite. And you'll really only be at risk of having trouble falling asleep if your sleep debt is super low (like near zero), but typically just being awake through the daytime after a long sleep the night before will rack you up enough sleep debt to fall asleep without problem at your normal bed time.

In regards to how much you sleep, sleep need does vary from person to person, sometimes pretty considerably, for reasons no one really knows for sure. To know your own sleep need, a couple other questions should be asked. The first is do you sleep approx. 10 hours per night every night? Or do you sleep 10 hours one night,
have a bit of trouble sleeping the next, and then return to 10 hours the night after? If it's more like the latter, your body is likely just needing to pay back your sleep debt. If it's 10 hours (or similarly high numbers) every night, your need could be higher than normal at this time in your life, unless...

...there's a sleep disorder at play. One common example is sleep apnea, which can force you to have hundreds of tiny awakenings during the course of the night that you can't remember when you wake up. So it feels like you've slept 10 quality hours, but you've really slept slightly less than 10 very tumultuous, interrupted hours. In a situation like this, maybe your real sleep need is 7 or 8 quality hours, but since you're getting low-quality sleep your body needs a greater amount. You can also read about other types of sleep disorders that can compromise the quality of your sleep here.

Dr. Dement likes to make a point during his lectures that there's no such thing as sleeping too much, and this is pretty solidly true if you're sleeping healthily. When your sleep debt gets to near zero and you're at optimum alertness and performance levels, it will be physically impossible to fall asleep without some major heavy drugs. Your body just can't. However, if you have a sleep disorder you could be unnecessarily sleeping more than you would need if the sleep was healthy. The key then is to identify what that sleep disorder is, learn as much as you can about it, and seek treatment.

Hope this info is helpful.


Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Questions and Answers.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.