Sleep Science • Article

Why Do I Sleep So Much?

Carol Sorgen

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Find out what the experts say about the sleep you need.

When you have a long to-do list, getting hours of sleep every night might seem like wasted time. But those hours are vital.

Scale back on sleep, and adults risk scaling back on their ability to function.


Question: How many hours a night should I sleep?

A: The rule of thumb is that for every two hours awake, you need an hour of sleep. Some people are genetically disposed to needing 9 to 10 hours to function at their best, while others can operate at their peak with 6 or so hours. But, most people function best on 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.

Q: How can I find out how much sleep I really need?

A: Take a sleep vacation. For a week or two, turn off your alarm clock, go to bed when you're tired, and wake up naturally. You'll see for yourself what your natural sleep patterns should be.

Q: Can sleeping too much be harmful?

A: A number of conditions can interfere with your quality of sleep. These include:

  • Sleep apnea, which causes brief stops and starts in your breathing

  • Restless leg syndrome, which causes an urge to move your legs when resting

  • Bruxism, or grinding or clenching your teeth

Without this restorative sleep, your brain and body systems can't be repaired, heal, and grow, so if you wake up feeling like you need more sleep, this could be why. There are other conditions that actually cause you to sleep more, such as:

  • Narcolepsy, which interferes with the body's sleep-wake cycles

  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome, in which your biological clock keeps you up late, so that it's hard to wake in the morning

  • Idiopathic hypersomnia, which causes excessive sleepiness for reasons that can't be identified

If you regularly sleep more than 9 hours a night, check with your doctor to see if there might be an underlying medical reason.

Want even better sleep? Sleepers who routinely use their Sleep Number 360® smart bed features and SleepIQ® technology get almost 100 hours more proven quality sleep per year.*


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal well-being and performance. Because everyone's sleep needs are different, Sleep Number® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep.

*Based on internal analysis of sleep sessions assessing sleepers who use multiple features of Sleep Number
® products. Claim based on sleepers achieving over 15 more minutes of restful sleep per sleep sessions.


about the author

Carol Sorgen is a full-time freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She covers a variety of topics including healthcare, lifestyle, travel, aging, the arts, architecture/design, life sciences, business, and education. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, WebMD, Ocean Home, and Psychiatric News, to name a few.

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