Why Do I Want to Sleep All the Time? A Sleep Doctor Explains

You may feel like you want to sleep all the time due to sleep debt, being out of sync with your body clock, poor diet, lack of exercise, or a sleep disorder.
Updated
2023-10-14
22 MINS
Written by
Jeff Kahn, M.S., Rise Science Co-Founder
Reviewed by
Chester Wu, MD, Rise Science Medical Reviewer
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We bring sleep research out of the lab and into your life. Every post begins with peer-reviewed studies — not third-party sources — to make sure we only share advice that can be defended to a room full of sleep scientists.
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Why Do I Want to Sleep All of the Time? 

  • The most likely reasons you want to sleep all the time are because you aren’t getting enough sleep or you’re out of sync with your body clock.
  • Feeling tired can also be caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, a sleep disorder, or a medical condition.
  • The RISE app can help you stop feeling sleepy all the time by helping you catch up on sleep, get in sync with your body clock, and get enough sleep night after night.

It’s normal to feel groggy when you first wake up and a little sleepy in the afternoon. But if you’re feeling tired all day long, something might be up. 

Below, we’ve rounded up 30 reasons you want to sleep all the time and how the RISE app can help you fix the two biggest culprits: sleep debt and being out of sync with your body clock.

Ask a Sleep Doctor

Dr. Chester Wu is double board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and is one of our Rise Science sleep advisors and medical reviewers. Here’s what he has to say on why you want to sleep so much:

“Sleep deprivation is the most common cause of wanting to sleep all the time. Try getting out in sunlight first thing, avoiding light in the run-up to bedtime, and making sure your bedroom is cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. This can help you get more shut-eye, and hopefully more energy.”

Why Do I Want to Sleep All of the Time? 

Here’s why you might be low on energy and craving your bed all day.

1. Sleep Debt 

Sleep debt is the amount of sleep you owe your body. You build up sleep debt when you don’t meet your sleep need, which is the genetically determined amount of sleep you need each night. 

A lack of sleep can be caused by something out of your control, like a sleep disorder, health problem, or newborn baby. But it may also be something you can change — like if you stay up late with Netflix, share a bed with a snoring partner, or sleep with your pet (a 2023 study found owning a dog was linked to having trouble sleeping). 

Beyond this, many of us don’t know how much sleep we need, so never really know if we’re getting enough sleep

To fix that, RISE works out how much sleep you need using a year’s worth of your phone use data and proprietary sleep-science-based models. 

You may need more sleep than you think. When we looked at how much sleep 1.95 million RISE users need, it ranged from five hours to 11 hours 30 minutes. Almost half of them needed eight hours or more sleep a night. 

The RISE app can tell you how much sleep you need
The RISE app works out how much sleep you need.

RISE also works out whether you’re carrying any sleep debt. We recommend you keep this below five hours to feel the most energy. 

We measure your sleep debt over the past 14 nights. That means even if you got enough sleep last night (or even more than usual), you could still want to sleep if you’ve got lingering sleep debt from the past 13 nights. 

Got more than five hours of sleep debt? This is most likely why you want to sleep all the time. 

You can learn how much sleep debt you have here. 

RISE app screenshot showing how much sleep debt you have
The RISE app works out how much sleep debt you have.

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click view their sleep need here and view their sleep debt here.

Getting enough shut-eye but still want to sleep all day? We covered why you’re sleepy no matter how much sleep you’re getting here. 

2. Circadian Misalignment 

Your circadian rhythm is your roughly 24-hour internal clock that helps to control your sleep-wake cycle. 

You can get out of sync with your circadian rhythm if you: 

  • Work night shifts or do rotating shift work 
  • Have an irregular sleep schedule (which about 87% of us do) 
  • Ignore your chronotype (whether you’re an early bird or night owl)
  • Have jet lag 

Being out of sync with your circadian rhythm can leave you wanting to sleep at odd times and feeling low on energy all day. You may have trouble falling asleep at bedtime — which can add to your sleep debt. 

RISE can predict the timing of your circadian rhythm to help you get in sync.

RISE app screenshot showing your energy schedule
The RISE app predicts your circadian rhythm each day.

Heads-up: Your circadian rhythm dictates when your energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. You’ll naturally feel sleepy when you first wake up, during your afternoon slump, and in the run-up to bedtime. These dips in energy will feel worse if you’ve got a lot of sleep debt.  

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3. You Don’t Feel Like You Got a Good Night’s Sleep 

How you feel about your sleep can affect your energy levels.

A 2022 sleep study found more light sleep and less time awake at night are linked to better sleep satisfaction. And research from 2021 suggests how people feel about their sleep has a bigger impact on daytime fatigue than how long they slept.

If you feel like you didn’t get a good night’s rest — perhaps because you were tossing and turning or it took a while to drift off — you may feel like you want to sleep all day, even if you actually did get enough sleep that night.  

To make matters more complicated, the more effort you put into sleep, the harder it can be to fall asleep. This can lead to sleep debt, which can leave you feeling tired all day.

You can learn more about restless sleep and how to fix it here. 

4. Dehydration 

Many of us are dehydrated and research shows even mild dehydration can make you feel tired. 

According to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should drink about 15.5 cups a day and women should drink about 11.5 cups of water a day.

5. Diet 

If you eat an unhealthy diet full of sugar and simple carbs, like white bread and processed breakfast cereals, your glucose levels (blood sugar) can spike and crash throughout the day. 

Nutritional deficiencies can also cause fatigue. You may feel tired if you’ve got a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency.  

What you eat can also cause digestive issues, like acid reflux or bloating, that can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.

You may also feel sleepy after eating if you have a high-calorie or high-carb meal.  

And if you eat too close to bedtime, you may find it harder to drift off and find yourself awake more during the night. 

You can learn more about when to stop eating before bed here.

Expert tip: Aim to be done with dinner two to three hours before bed. RISE can tell you exactly when to finish eating for the day.

RISE app screenshot showing when to have your last meal
The RISE app can tell you when to have your last large meal each day.

6. Not Exercising

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to fatigue, weight gain, and sleep problems. On the flip side, exercise can help you lower stress levels, lose weight, get an energy boost when you need it (hello, afternoon slump), and get more sleep at night. 

A 2023 systematic review found that regular exercise can improve your sleep quality and reduce how long it takes you to fall asleep. 

Physical activity has also been shown to help with sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea and lead to less fatigue.  

7. Exercising Too Much or Too Late in the Day 

Exercise is great for your sleep, but if you squeeze in a vigorous workout before bed, it may have the opposite effect you’re looking for. 

Intense exercise within an hour of bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep. We’ve covered the best time to work out here.

If you’re exercising too much — think training hard for a marathon or skipping rest days — you may find yourself wanting to sleep all day. 

Research shows you may need more sleep than usual when you’re recovering from intense exercise. And working out too much can also lead to injury, which can lead to you needing more sleep to recover. A 2023 study found muscle injury caused participants to sleep for longer. 

8. Caffeine 

Caffeine is a stimulant. It’s a great pick-me-up in the morning, but if you have caffeine too close to bedtime (as close as 12 hours before bed), you can cut into your sleep time and cause you to rack up sleep debt. 

A 2023 study found caffeine can:

  • Reduce your total sleep time
  • Increase how long it takes to fall asleep 
  • Increase how much you wake up in the night 
  • Reduce how much deep sleep you get 
  • Increase how much light sleep you get 

Caffeine can also dehydrate you, and if you add sugar or syrup, or drink sugary energy drinks, you can experience a sugar crash, too.

We’ve covered more on why caffeine makes you tired here.

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9. Alcohol 

Alcohol can make you feel drowsy, but it can also disrupt your sleep. 

Research from 2019 found alcohol can:

You can learn more about alcohol and sleep problems here.

Expert tip: Avoid alcohol three to four hours before bed to reduce the chances of it messing with your sleep and making you feel tired the next day. RISE can tell you an exact time to avoid alcohol each day.

RISE app screenshot showing when to avoid alcohol
The RISE app can tell you when to stop drinking alcohol before bed.

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can set up their avoid late alcohol reminder here.

10. Hypersomnia 

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that causes you to sleep for long periods of time

Symptoms of hypersomnia include: 

  • Excessive sleepiness 
  • Not feeling refreshed after sleeping 
  • Brain fog
  • Memory problems 
  • Lack of interest in daily activities 
  • Trouble making decisions or thinking clearly  
  • Depressive symptoms 

Hypersomnia can be caused by:

  • Health conditions like Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, and multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome
  • Mediations
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Some people have what’s known as idiopathic hypersomnia, which is when there’s no known cause for the disorder. Both hypersomnia and idiopathic hypersomnia can severely affect your daily life.

A 2023 study found more than half of the participants studied with idiopathic hypersomnia reported moderate-to-severe cognitive complaints and depressive symptoms.  

You can learn more about hypersomnia here.

11. Insomnia

With insomnia, you’ll struggle to meet your sleep need at night, leading to a build-up of sleep debt. 

There are four types of insomnia: 

  • Sleep onset insomnia: When you have trouble falling asleep. 
  • Sleep maintenance insomnia: When you have trouble staying asleep. 
  • Early morning awakening insomnia: When you wake up too early. 
  • Mixed insomnia: When you have a combination of the above. 

As well as sleep problems, symptoms include memory problems, feeling tired, irritability, and trouble concentrating. 

12. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes you to feel sleepy all day and fall asleep randomly

Symptoms of narcolepsy include: 

13. Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes your airways to close during the night, cutting off your breathing. Your body wakes you up to kickstart your breathing, and this can happen 5 times or more an hour. 

Symptoms include: 

  • Snoring 
  • Waking up gasping for breath 
  • Waking up with a sore throat 
  • Morning headaches 
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness 

You can learn more about how to know if you’ve got sleep apnea here.

14. Restless Leg Syndrome 

As the name suggests, restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes your legs to feel restless. You’ll mainly get this at night or when sitting or lying down. 

Symptoms of RLS include:

  • Unpleasant feelings in the legs
  • A strong urge to move the legs
  • Involuntary movements in the legs

A 2023 meta-analysis found RLS is more common among women (as many sleep disorders are) and older adults. 

15. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that causes extreme fatigue. 

Symptoms include: 

  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle aches 
  • Headaches 
  • Unrefreshing sleep 
  • Muscle or joint pain 

It’s not clear what causes chronic fatigue syndrome, but genetics, infections, and past trauma may be to blame. 

16. Poor Air Quality 

If the air quality is poor in your home or area, this can make it harder to fall and stay asleep and get the sleep you need. 

It can also affect your breathing during the day and night. A 2020 review highlighted that being exposed to pollutants could increase sleep-disordered breathing, such as snoring and sleep apnea.

If you live in an area affected by wildfires or wildfire smoke, this can make you tired, too. 

You can learn more about air quality and sleep here.

17. Depression 

Aside from physiological medical conditions, being sleepy all the time may be traced to mental health problems like depression. 

Depression can cause a low mood, increased fatigue, and trouble sleeping — all of which can cause you to want to stay in bed all day. 

Symptoms of depression also include losing interest in your usual activities and feeling withdrawn. This can add to sleep problems and low energy, particularly if you start skipping exercise or socializing. 

Antidepressants come with tiredness as a side effect and can worsen or cause sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome, REM sleep behavior disorder, and sleep apnea.  

18. Stress

If you’re stressed, you probably have trouble falling and staying asleep. RISE users say stress and anxiety are the biggest barriers stopping them from getting a good night’s sleep.

Mental exhaustion and burnout can also leave you feeling drained. A 2022 study suggests mentally demanding work can trigger changes in your brain metabolism, which can lead to mental fatigue.

19. Anxiety

Whether you’ve got an anxiety disorder — like generalized anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder — or you have anxious thoughts day to day, this can make you want to sleep. 

Anxiety makes it harder to fall asleep and meet your sleep need at night. And sleep loss can make anxiety worse, creating a vicious circle. 

We’ve covered how to sleep with anxiety here.

20. Weight Loss 

If you’re on a weight loss journey, you might be cutting your calories and exercising more than usual. This can leave you low on energy during the day.

Tiredness is a side effect of weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

21. Weight Gain 

If you’ve gained weight recently, this may be the reason you want to sleep all the time. 

Obesity is a risk factor for: 

  • Snoring 
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime fatigue 
  • Health issues that impact your sleep 

It’s a vicious circle, too, as sleep problems can lead to weight gain. 

You can learn more about the weight and sleep connection here.

22. Aging

Getting older can leave you feeling more tired. 

Getting enough sleep becomes harder to do as we age. You may have more health conditions or sleep disorders, be on more sleep-disrupting medication, have joint or lower back pain, experience increased urination at night, and be going through menopause. 

Our circadian rhythm also “flattens” as we get older, meaning the biological cues to go to sleep and wake up aren’t as strong. Your sleep schedule may get thrown off, making it harder to meet your sleep need. 

23. Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually strikes in fall and winter — and it’s more than just feeling sad that summer’s over. 

Common symptoms include: 

  • Depression 
  • Low energy
  • Changes in your sleep patterns (getting too little sleep at night and too much during the day)
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Irritability 

It’s not clear what causes SAD, but one reason may be the lack of sunlight, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.

24. Your Period and Menstrual Cycle 

You may have trouble sleeping before or on your period or during different points in your menstrual cycle. 

Fluctuating hormones can cause changes in your mood, body temperature, and sleep. And PMS symptoms like cramps and bloating can keep you up, too. 

You can learn more about period insomnia here.

25. Pregnancy 

Pregnancy is a common cause of fatigue. 

It’s easy to build up sleep debt and get out of sync with your circadian rhythm when pregnant. It becomes harder to find a comfortable sleep position in the later stages of pregnancy. You may also experience leg cramps at night, nausea, heartburn, anxiety, anemia, and your baby kicking you in the ribs at 3 a.m. 

Unfortunately, the sleep problems don’t stop when the baby arrives. You’ll, of course, have a newborn to look after during the night, but you may also experience postpartum depression, a rollercoaster of hormone changes, and pain and trouble sleeping after birth or a c-section

You can learn more about how to get energy when pregnant here.

26. Menopause 

Menopause can cause sleep problems such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless leg syndrome 
  • Night sweats

And during menopause, you may experience mood swings, weight gain, and changes in body temperature that can mess with your sleep and energy levels. 

We’ve covered more on whether menopause can make you tired here.

27. Medical Conditions

There are many medical conditions that can make you feel like you want to sleep all the time. They can either cause fatigue as a symptom or cause sleep problems, which leave you low on energy. 

These include: 

  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) 
  • Hyperthyroidism (when your thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone)
  • Kidney disease 
  • Anemia (when your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells)
  • Obesity 
  • Heart disease
  • ADHD  
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Autoimmune diseases 
  • Cancer 
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

You may also need more sleep than usual when you’re ill with something like the common cold, COVID, or flu. And 2023 research shows high sleep debt impairs your immune system, making it more likely to get ill. 

Speak to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying causes. 

28. Medication

Some medications can cause drowsiness as a side effect. They can also cause sleep problems, leaving you tired the next day. 

Medications to look out for include: 

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines 
  • ADHD drugs 
  • Antipsychotics 
  • Blood pressure meds 
  • Birth control 
  • Sleep aids (can cause drowsiness the next day) 
  • Melatonin (if you take it at the wrong time) 

29. Allergies 

If you're sniffling and sneezing with allergies all day, you may want to do nothing but sleep. 

Allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose, sore throat, itchy eyes, and breathlessness can make it harder to sleep. 

Allergies can also cause snoring and mouth breathing, which can tank your energy levels. And allergy meds often come with drowsiness as a side effect.   

Plus, all this sleep loss can make you more likely to develop allergies. A 2022 study found people who got six hours of sleep or less a night had 1.27 times higher odds of developing allergic sensitization (when your body becomes sensitive to an allergen) compared to those who got seven to eight hours of sleep.

We’ve covered more on how allergies can make you tired here.

30. Poor Sleep Hygiene 

Sleep hygiene is the name for the daily behaviors you can do to get better sleep. If you’ve got poor sleep hygiene, you’ll probably take longer to fall asleep, wake up more often during the night, and find it harder to meet your sleep need. 

All this leads to sleep debt, which can make you want to sleep all day long. 

Poor sleep hygiene includes: 

  • Having a sleep environment that’s too warm, too bright, or too noisy  
  • Not getting out in sunlight in the morning or during the day 
  • Getting too much bright light in the evenings   
  • Drinking caffeine or alcohol, doing intense exercise, or eating large meals close to bedtime 
  • Having an irregular sleep schedule 

How Do I Stop Wanting to Sleep All of the Time?

Here’s what to do to stop wanting to sleep all the time: 

  • Lower your sleep debt: You can do this by taking afternoon naps, heading to bed a little earlier, or sleeping in a little later to catch up on sleep
  • Get in sync with your circadian rhythm: Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same times each day and try to eat your meals at roughly the same times, too. RISE can tell you when your body naturally wants to go to sleep and wake up
  • Make some healthy lifestyle changes: Changing a few lifestyle habits can help you feel more energy day to day. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, getting some exercise, and working on lowering your stress levels. 
  • Improve your sleep hygiene: Get out in sunlight first thing, dim the lights about 90 minutes before bed, do a relaxing sleep routine to wind down before bed, and avoid caffeine, large meals, intense exercise, and alcohol too close to bedtime. Be sure to eliminate any possible sleep disturbances like your dog, bright lights, or loud noises. 

It can feel like a lot to remember, but RISE can guide you through 20+ good sleep habits each day to make it easier to get the sleep you need at night. 

RISE app screenshot showing sleep hygiene reminders
The RISE app can help you improve your sleep hygiene.

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can set up their 20+ in-app habit notifications here

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Should I Be Concerned if I Want to Sleep All of the Time?

Most of the time, you’ll want to sleep all of the time because you’re not getting enough sleep at night or because you’re out of sync with your circadian rhythm. 

Lower your sleep debt and get in sync with your circadian rhythm to see if that helps you feel more awake.

Wanting to sleep all the time can also be a sign of a sleep disorder, medical condition, or mental health issue. Speak to your healthcare provider to rule out these potential causes. They can run blood tests and suggest supplements, medications, or treatment options to help. 

Stop Feeling Tired All Day Once and for All 

If you can’t think of anything but crawling back into bed all day, the most likely culprits are high sleep debt and being out of sync with your circadian rhythm. Many other factors feed into these two reasons — like drinking caffeine too late in the day or feeling stressed. 

RISE can help you feel more awake by working out how much sleep you need, how much sleep debt you have, and predicting your circadian rhythm to help you stay in sync. 

RISE can also guide you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits each day to make it easier to get enough sleep at night.

It can sometimes feel impossible to get more energy, but a few changes can help. We’ve found 80% of RISE users feel more energy within five days of using the app.

Summary FAQs

Why do I want to sleep all of the time?

You probably want to sleep all of the time because you’ve got a lot of sleep debt or you’re out of sync with your circadian rhythm. Other reasons for wanting to sleep all the time include poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, medical conditions, medications, and sleep disorders.

Why do I feel sleepy all of the time even when I get enough sleep?

You may feel sleepy all of the time even when you get enough sleep because you need more sleep than you think, you’re getting less sleep than you think, you’re out of sync with your circadian rhythm, or you have a medical condition or sleep disorder.

Why do I want to sleep all of the time in winter?

You may want to sleep all of the time in winter because you’ve got high sleep debt, you’re out of sync with your circadian rhythm, you’ve got seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or you get less sunlight, which can mess up your body clock and make it harder to sleep.

Why do I want to sleep all of the time on my period?

You may want to sleep all of the time on your period because you build up sleep debt or get out of sync with your body clock. Your hormones can cause sleep problems and anxiety, and cramps may make it harder to fall asleep.

Should I be concerned if I want to sleep all of the time?

Most of the time, you want to sleep all of the time because you’ve got a lot of sleep debt or you’re out of sync with your circadian rhythm. These things can be fixed to give you more energy. But wanting to sleep all of the time can also be caused by a medical condition or sleep disorder, so it may be worth speaking to a healthcare provider to rule these out.

How do I stop wanting to sleep all of the time?

Stop wanting to sleep all of the time by paying down your sleep debt and getting in sync with your circadian rhythm. You can do this by taking short afternoon naps, heading to bed a little earlier, sleeping in a little later, and keeping as regular a sleep schedule as possible.

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