Why Do Some People Need More Sleep?
For most people, the need to sleep more than the average of eight hours per night usually indicates that the body is trying to fight off an infection, or even that there could be a chronic medical condition developing and a trip to the doctor is in order.
But what about those of us that just seem to need more sleep than everyone else? According to sleep experts, certain people are just genetically predisposed to the need for more sleep.
A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has shown that there is evidence of some people needing more sleep from the start. By studying a hundred sets of identical twins, the Academy was able to pinpoint a genetic mutation that allows a small portion of the American population to function with only six hours of sleep per night, and not suffer the effects of sleep deprivation. These lucky few are definitely the exception that proves the rule of most adults needing a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night to get the most out of the day.
On the flip side of this study, there has been a larger portion of the population that has shown the need to get more than the average amount of sleep in order to function. These individuals are considered to be “long sleepers,” and the time that they spend in bed is usually closer to ten hours per night. Is the extra sleep cause for concern?
Not according to the doctors at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. The sleep studies that the Center has conducted on people that spend an average of ten hours in bed have shown that these “long sleepers” are just as healthy as those that get a more average length of sleep per night, and don’t seem to suffer any health issues from the extra sleep.
These studies have proved that there is simply a portion of the American population that needs more sleep to function than what is considered to be the norm. The only possible cause for concern that studies on these long sleepers has shown is a dip in immune system functioning when they weren’t able to get the nine to ten hours of sleep per night that they typically require.
As long as those that are sleeping more than the average length of time per night are not suffering from fragmented sleep that causes them to toss and turn or get up more than several times per night, health experts say let them sleep!
Doctors do recommend an especially supportive mattress for long sleepers, since they will be spending more time between the sheets. Most premium memory foam mattresses will work best for all types of sleepers, but especially for those that are going to be spending more than eight hours in bed on the average night.
The bottom line is no matter how long you sleep per night, pay attention to your body to make sure that you are getting what you need. Sleep quality will always be more important than the actual number of hours that you sleep. If you find yourself feeling groggy even after getting more than the recommended eight hours per night or notice that you become ill more often than those around you, consider speaking with your doctor about your sleep concerns.