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What You May Not Realize About Your Friend Who 'Sleeps Too Much'

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You might be able to think of a friend who is “always tired.” That friend who goes to bed early and wakes up late, is constantly napping, cancels plans because they’re “feeling under the weather and need to stay in bed,” or just seems to be in a perpetual state of exhaustion.

Or maybe you are that friend.

Either way, it can be just as difficult to explain exhaustion caused by mental illness as it is to understand someone who is struggling for those who have never experienced it. Because of this, we asked our Mighty mental health community to share what they wished others understood when their mental health makes them “sleep too much.”

Here is what they had to say:

1. “I wish others understood I’m not lazy, I don’t want to sleep half the day away, I’m just always tired no matter how much sleep I get. Some days are better than others.” — Veronica M.

2. “I promise I’m not ignoring or avoiding you. When my depression hits, I need extra sleep.” — Kristen B.

3. “It’s not the enjoyable, refreshing kind of sleep. I wake up sleepier, which makes me want to sleep again. It’s a viscous cycle of exhaustion that feels impossible to break.” — Kaitlin R.

4. “Sleep is my way of escape, if only temporarily. It’s my way of shutting it all out. Many times, I’m not even physically tired, just weary or out of my element when I am up and around. Being in the world drains me rapidly; it’s like an electromagnetic force pulling me back inside no matter how hard I try to fight it.” — Marcel W.

5. “My body and mind demand it. I can’t physically or mentally function. Going ‘out’ for me is like a person who isn’t struggling with mental illness running a marathon. You are probably physically and emotionally drained after it and you need to rest and recharge in order to function.” — Jennifer B.

6. “I’ll always be tired. It doesn’t matter that I sleep all day away. No matter how much sleep I get, my depression and anxiety always keep me tired. It’s a constant battle with my feelings and a constant battle in the mind that keeps me tired. Please understand that my fatigue isn’t fun for me either.” — Lauren P.

7. “No amount of stating, ‘If you had a job or a routine you could stick to you might get yourself into a normal sleep-wake pattern and start feeling better,’ is going to change things. If it were really that simple, I’d still have a job and would still have a routine.” — Dawn W.

8. “I would rather be doing literally anything else. But the idea of getting out of bed hurts me physically.” — Sarah W.

9. “I don’t always sleep the whole time. It’s constantly waking up and feeling constantly tired by my racing thoughts.” — Dawn M.

10. “I wish others understood that it pains me every day I have to stay in bed. I was once active and out the door at 5 a.m. for a workout. Most days I don’t leave my house. This is not a choice. I prefer to start my day with a workout and tackle my to-do list. It’s an illness and it’s serious.” — Charlotte E.

11. “Sometimes the only way to escape intrusive and scary thoughts is to force myself to sleep to keep me safe overall.” — Cecilia O.

12. It’s not something to be jealous of. My medications and mental health make me fall asleep during work, classes, movies with friends and family — anywhere I’m not actively doing something. Caffeine doesn’t help, but I’m still expected to function. People say they’re jealous of my ability to sleep through anything, but I’m jealous of their ability to stay awake all day.” — Sarah J.

13. “It’s like being stuck in a never-ending marathon. The exhaustion is impossible to overcome and no matter how hard I try to finish the race I can’t, because no amount of sleep I get can cure this tiredness. So no, I’m not lazy, I’m not in bed by choice. I sleep most of the day because with racing thoughts I can’t sleep at night and I wake up more exhausted everyday.” — Alina M.

14. “Sleep is the only thing that helps me function. I can get a whole night of sleep and still be exhausted the next day. Anxiety and depression are tiring. Also please remember I’m not lazy, I just need more sleep so I can function through life.” — Michaela M.

15. “‘Sleeping too much’ is my mental break. Please don’t come in every 30 minutes asking if I’m OK or need anything. I need my quiet, I need my sleep. Most nights for me are sleepless due to my anxiety, so when my depression takes over and makes me sleep for hours at a time, please let me. I am OK, I don’t need anything and no, I’m not lazy. My brain needs a break. Please allow me to give it a break.” — Katie W.

16. “It’s not a restful sleep that leaves me to wake up feeling refreshed. I still feel exhausted the minute I wake up. Functioning during the day and at work takes so much energy that my resources are depleted.” — Kristina M.

17. “I physically can’t make myself get up. Every bone in my body hurts and my limbs are heavy and numb. I don’t do it so I can have a ‘lazy day,’ I do it because I can’t do anything else.” — Sadie H.

18. “I wish I understood it because it causes me so much pain. I want to get up and not feel tired. I feel lazy by doing it, but I literally can’t get up.” — Robin S.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Getty image via nadia_bormotova

Originally published: December 14, 2017
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