For most people, seven to nine hours of sleep is the ideal amount to function during the day and maintain good health. However, some people are naturally short sleepers due to a condition called short sleeper syndrome (SSS). Below we review more about SSS.
What Are the Symptoms of Short Sleeper Syndrome?
People with SSS regularly get fewer than six hours of sleep per night, but they wake up feeling well-rested and can perform well at school or work. They don’t feel the need to take naps during the day or “catch up” on sleep on the weekends.
In addition, those with SSS don’t purposely restrict or avoid sleep; their sleep pattern is consistent most nights, including on the weekends and holidays.
Symptoms usually begin to present in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood.
What Causes Short Sleeper Syndrome?
Experts believe SSS may be due to a gene mutation.
One 2014 study from the University of Pittsburgh compared identical twins, one of whom carried the SSS gene mutation and one who didn’t. Both twins performed cognitive tasks after sleeping the same amount of time the previous night. The twin with the SSS gene mutation outperformed their sibling.
How Is Short Sleeper Syndrome Diagnosed?
When making an evaluation for SSS, a doctor may administer the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire to determine your ability to function during daily activities as well as the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire to determine whether you’re more productive in the morning or at night.
Your doctor may also ask you to track how much sleep you get each night, how many times you wake up at night and any daytime symptoms you may be experiencing.
If you’re diagnosed with SSS, you don’t need any further testing or treatment.
Are You Getting Less than 6 Hours of Sleep?
Short sleeper syndrome is not considered a sleep disorder because it doesn’t impact one’s ability to function. If you’re getting less than six hours of sleep per night and exhibit the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist:
- Daytime fatigue.
- Needing frequent daytime naps.
- Trouble falling asleep at night.
- Difficulty staying asleep.
- Waking up too early.
- Relying on caffeine, like coffee from Firehouse Coffee 1881, to function.
For more information about SSS or to schedule an appointment with a sleep expert, call Hampton Roads ENT today.