Why Am I Sleepy All The Time? Does It Mean I’m Lazy?

Updated March 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Going to bed when you’re sleepy is considered typical, but feeling consistently tired or wanting to sleep even when you aren’t tired may be a sign of an underlying mental and/or physical condition. There may be a cause behind excessive sleepiness that you might not have control over. It’s important to discuss this concern with your doctor to get an accurate explanation. Meanwhile, the following may be contributing factors that are affecting your relationship with sleep.

Sleeping All the Time May Be A Sign Of A Mental Health Issue

Sleep Deprivation

If you’re deprived of sleep at a time you're usually in bed, you may eventually get sleepy at times when you need to be awake. This can lead to challenges and may get worse the longer you're deprived of sleep.

Sleep deprivation usually happens because we put off sleep to do things that we consider more important such as socializing or catching up on work. Over a period of time this can affect cognitive performance. While work may seem more important than sleep, it’s important to realize that sleep helps you to be more productive. Sleep should be seen as an investment rather than as a luxury.

If you’ve been sleep-deprived for a while, it may have confused your body's internal rhythm, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep earlier. Going to bed at a consistent time and getting out of bed at a consistent time can eventually allow your body to reset its internal clock to a healthy sleep cycle—even if it means lying in bed when you aren't tired or waking up when you still are. 

In order to practice healthy sleeping habits, it can also help to avoid screens before bed, have your last cup of coffee earlier in the day, or have fewer cups of coffee in general. 

Sleep Apnea

In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the airway collapses when you relax into sleep. You may wake up suddenly with your mouth dry and gasping for air. Other people with this condition may not wake up in the night but may wake up in the morning still feeling tired. This is because you sleep in cycles and some of these cycles are more restful than others. If a condition like sleep apnea is interfering with your sleep cycles, it may mean that you are sleeping for a standard amount of time but aren't getting high-quality sleep.

This condition can not only make you feel sleepy during the day, but it may also put your health and life at risk. It may increase the risk of stroke and heart conditions. If you have symptoms of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), see your doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist. The sleep specialist may be able to diagnose you and help you to get better sleep.

Substance Use

Heavy drinking or drug use can disrupt your sleep and decrease its quality. Even if some drugs and alcohol make you feel sleepy and help you to fall asleep sooner, they might make that sleep less restful or may make it harder for you to stay asleep. This is partly because your body may require more sleep to repair the effects of substance use, but your sleep is so fragmented you may not be able to make it happen. 

Moreover, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it makes your body get rid of fluids. This may cause you to wake up to go to the bathroom more than usual. Alcohol isn't the only substance that makes it hard for you to fall asleep. Many people drink caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks in the morning or the early afternoon to chase off drowsiness. While this can be a quick fix, many people don't realize how long caffeine can stay in your system.

Energy drinks usually have the most caffeine. This is followed by regular coffee, sodas, black tea, green tea, and finally decaffeinated coffee which still has some caffeine. Because caffeine is not a naturally occurring substance in soda, decaffeinated sodas may be genuinely "caffeine-free." Similarly, herbal teas made from plants like mint or chamomile are naturally caffeine-free and may help you to fall asleep if you drink them before bed.


Narcolepsy is a rare condition where you might lose control of your muscles when you feel some emotions strongly. You may jump immediately into REM sleep and experience vivid dreams. You might not get a full night's sleep, but when you sleep during the day, you wake up refreshed. 

If these symptoms sound just a bit different from what you're experiencing, you might have a condition called idiopathic hypersomnia. This disorder can also cause you to be excessively sleepy during the daytime as well as at night. Tell your healthcare provider about these symptoms to be referred to a sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment to restore your sleep patterns and improve quality of life.

Depression And Anxiety

Feeling sleepy during the day may be a symptom of depression. It’s important to understand that depression can have both emotional and physical components. Sleeping may fulfill a desire to escape.

Similarly, anxiety may make you want to sleep the day away. Or you might take a nap one day when you're feeling anxious and find yourself feeling calmer after your nap. Napping can become a crutch that allows you to avoid dealing with your anxiety. If you feel anxious before you feel sleepy, a counselor can help you take the next steps. On the other hand, anxiety can also make you so stressed that you have trouble falling asleep or you try to stay up later.

If you think that you might have depression or anxiety, consider talking to a healthcare provider, therapist, or counselor. Feelings of depression or anxiety occur naturally from time to time for many people, especially after significant life changes like a new job or the loss of a loved one. While feelings of depression and anxiety from these symptoms may not be immediately treatable by your healthcare provider, a therapist or a counselor will be able to help you through these emotions even if they aren't symptoms of an emotional disorder.

Sleeping All the Time May Be A Sign Of A Mental Health Issue



If you're feeling sleepy and don't know why, it can seem difficult to find the right person to help. If your sleepiness is related to depression or anxiety, online therapists can help you find ways to improve your mood, thought processes, habits, and self-esteem. Remember, the feeling of constant sleepiness doesn't necessarily mean you're lazy. It may mean that you struggle to find a way to stay alert. Online therapy can be a way of exploring healthy sleeping habits and cognitive performance. 

There are many perks to online therapy. It’s affordable in comparison to in-person therapy settings because clients are not required to travel for an appointment. Additionally, online therapy is more accessible for clients as they can join a session from the comfort of their own home.

One study by the World Psychiatry Association found that there was “considerable support” for internet-based therapy when dealing with common mental health disorders suggesting the validity in digital therapy for sleep disorders. 

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