Depression and Oversleeping: I Want to Sleep All the Time

October 13, 2013 Liana M. Scott

In depression, oversleeping, for me, meant that sometimes I slept 18 hours at a time. And then couldn't wait to go back to sleep. Oversleeping is tough to beat.

Oversleeping is my way out of depression. That's not so odd seeing that sleep, whether it is too much or too little, can be a symptom of depression. For me, I could never get enough sleep. That is often still the case, a keen reminder that I must always be aware of the symptoms of depression that affect me. Depression makes me want to oversleep to numb the pain.

Oversleeping Helps Me Escape Depression

For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who needs a lot of sleep. Bouts of depression exacerbate this trait. During my major depressive episodes, I could (and would) sleep upwards of 18 hours a day. When I woke up, I wanted more. The more I got, the more I wanted... the more I needed. It was like an addictive drug. It was also like a veil over the pain I was feeling.

Like no other symptom of depression, sleep helped me escape from all the others. It was so easy, too. Just close my eyes (again) and drift away. No pain. Total avoidance. Which is why this was the hardest symptom for me to combat.

How I Quit Sleeping Through Depression

Sometimes I slept 18 hours to escape my depression. Oversleeping was a tough depression symptom to beat.My depression was treated with both medication and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Medication can be put within arms reach; on a bedside table, under the pillow. And, some therapists offer CBT over the phone. No need to get out of bed at all. But for me, given my penchant for sleeping, getting out of bed was as essential first step along the road to recovery.

At the beginning, it was absolutely the hardest thing I had to do. I would wake up, dress, drive to the therapist, sob through therapy, drive home, undress, go to bed and fall back asleep. My therapist suggested that I should try to extend the amount of time between when I got home from an appointment and when I went back to bed. Five minutes the first day, ten minutes the next, and so on. Slower if need be. While longer awake times meant longer bouts of pain, it also forced me to deal with that pain using other CBT techniques.

I love sleeping. It is my single most favorite thing. Which is why it is also the most dangerous symptom of my depression. Too much sleep, repeated oversleeping, also has the potential to bring me down . . . way down. I must be very, very diligent, aware of my symptoms and committed to my recovery.

APA Reference
Scott, L. (2013, October 13). Depression and Oversleeping: I Want to Sleep All the Time, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Liana M. Scott

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Rose Knott
July, 7 2022 at 3:44 pm

Miss Rose
Age late '70s. Worked my dream job for nearly 10 years.
Was on personal leave, and spoke about what I perceived as employment injustices (although not to the public). I was fired and accused of treason.
I have been devastated, insulted, and I would be disloyal to my ancestors who settled on the Maumee River in 1821 if I did not pursue this type of heresy.
My depression has disrupted my entire lifestyle.

January, 27 2022 at 5:42 am

It's good to know, that i am not the only person who struggles with this.
I'm always tired in the daytime and sleeping is the only thing that helps to escape from from my problems. It sometimes feels like I have a fake life going on in my sleep, while I'm avoiding my real life.

Jess J
September, 26 2021 at 6:56 am

I'm going through this right now.... I've been asleep almost constantly for around 4 or 5 days now. I actually have mostly strange and awful dreams but I can't seem to stop. I definitely feel it's an escapism thing to do with my depression right now. I used to smoke excessive amounts of Marijuana but quit a couple of months ago. The sleeping all the time seems to have become my new coping mechanism and I need to stop.....

Adeniyi Roseline
September, 4 2020 at 8:35 am

Sometimes my 80+ old dad sleeps well over 15 hours. Worried though. I don't know if some sleep inducing drugs may be responsible. Can u advice. Thanks

September, 4 2020 at 12:36 pm

Hi Adeniyi,
I'm sorry to hear that. It does sound worrisome, please consult the doctor who has prescribed these drugs. Take care x

October, 22 2019 at 9:39 am

totally relate unfortunately. in my sleep, in my dreams, life is good, easy, loving. but when I wake up it's hard, alone .. it's not a life I want to live in. I know one can't live like this but I can't help it...
have any of you really managed to overcome this ( without the help of a overpriced doctor ? because also I'm poor and can't afford this ... :/)

October, 23 2019 at 6:58 pm

Hello, AP. I'm Jennifer, one of the current authors of the Coping With Depression blog. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling alone and having such a hard time. You are not alone. I've been there, and I'm working hard to manage my depression now. There are many others who are battling depression. I have some ideas for you. Look into the depression resources available on this site. That's a good first step. Secondly, look for available doctors in your area that are not overpriced. Finally, find support. Do you have a support system with family or friends? If not, search for a depression support group near you and join. You can overcome this. Thank you for reaching out here.

Md. Akhter Farooque
April, 9 2018 at 10:21 pm

Doctor told me I am suffering from Schizophrenia. Now I am taking 25mg Oleanz per day at night. Before taking medicine I can't sleep at night., feel restless and stroll whole night. Whole day time I want to be in bed. I tried to avoid friends, classmates, roommates, avoid talking to them, smile cause less. I had headache different from normal headache and suffering from auditory and visual hallucination. Now I sleep 9-10 hours at night, and in the day time 3-4 hours. I want to sleep more but my father and mother prevent me. Still I want to avoid friends, classmates and talk less. Sometimes in the evening I feel uneasy, have bad feeling in the forehead and chest. That time I have hallucination. Now I am attending classes but no interest in study.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 10 2018 at 7:21 am

Hello. I'm Jennifer Smith, one of the current authors of the Coping With Depression Blog. I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds like the medicine has helped some, but you are still having some issues. Discuss these issues with your health care provider. He/she may have other options that could lessen or improve your symptoms. Also, I commend you for continuing to attend classes. I know it's hard, but keep it up. Thank you for reaching out here, and remember to also lean on your family and friends for support, too, as well as speaking with your health care provider about all the treatment options available to you. Thank you again for your comment.

July, 21 2017 at 12:22 pm

I am sleeping my life away

May, 30 2017 at 9:52 pm

I have the same problem,sleeping all the time and depression.

May, 29 2017 at 5:45 pm

It combined with chronic fatigue 12+hrs a day for 2+years.i struggle everyday to wake up and stay up. Sometimes I win sometimes it wins. Its causing problems for my spouse. Hes lonely.i have no feelings. I wish I could cry. I feel dead inside.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 6 2020 at 2:41 pm

same problem with me. my spouse always angry with me because I sleep a lot. and too many argument and no healthy relation.I feel like that making me more depress

March, 10 2020 at 6:09 pm

Hello, Sarina. I'm Jennifer, the current author of the Coping With Depression blog. I'm glad you reached out here. Are you seeing a healthcare professional? He/she would likely have some suggestions for you that might help you resolve your sleep issues. Also, a healthcare professional should also be able to recommend someone for you and your spouse to speak with together.

October, 17 2013 at 7:21 am

I have that problem too.

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