Natural short sleeper

Definition

A natural short sleeper is someone who sleeps a lot less in a 24-hour period than is expected for people of the same age, without being abnormally sleepy.

Alternative Names

Sleep - natural short sleeper

Causes

Although each person's need for sleep varies, the typical adult needs an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Short sleepers sleep less than 75% of what is normal for their age.

Natural short sleepers do not restrict the number of hours they sleep on purpose. Scientists believe that genetic variation allows natural short sleepers to function well with less sleep than normal.

Natural short sleepers are different from people who chronically do not get enough sleep because of work or family demands, or those who have medical conditions that disrupt sleep.

Symptoms

Natural short sleepers are not overly tired or sleepy during the day.

Treatment

No specific treatment is needed.

Images

Natural short sleeper
Sleep patterns in the young and aged

References

Avidan AY. Sleep and its disorders. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 101.

Landolt H-P, Dijk D-J. Genetics and genomic basis of sleep in healthy humans. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 30.

Mansukhani MP, Kolla BP, St. Louis EK, Morgenthaler TI. Sleep disorders. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:755-770.

Review Date: 
10/14/2020
Reviewed By: 
David A. Kaufman, MD, Director of Clinical Innovation and Education, Medical Critical Care, NYU Langone Medical Center, Tisch Hospital, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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