I've always had a bit of trouble waking up in the morning - I tend to be a "zombie" for a few minutes, wanting to do nothing but go back to sleep, until my brain kicks in. Even an alarm clock won't help much unless it forces me to stay awake for a few minutes (and so far none have succeeded) - I just turn it off and fall asleep again.

Recently I've been having more severe issues. I've been talking to doctors, but they just seem to want to give me pills that don't appear to be helping.

The main problem is, I'm sleeping more and more and not getting much rest. I recently slept for 24 hours straight without wanting to, and last night, 30. When I wake up I remember an entire night's worth of dreams, which suggests I'm not sleeping properly, as I've heard you only dream during part of a 90-minute cycle, and only remember them if the cycle gets interrupted?

Similarly, if I am well-rested I might not start to feel tired until 24 hours of being awake, so when bedtime comes around, my brain is still running wild and it takes all night to get to sleep.

  • 1
    Have your doctors suggested an evaluation in a sleep lab? If your regular doctors haven't helped, they may not have the expertise you need. Jul 9, 2011 at 2:54
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    24+ hours is a HUGE time to be in bed. You definitely need quality medical opinions ASAP. Consider doing everything you can to increase your general health (eating/exercise) AND start googling for a great doctor or psychiatrist who can investigate this. Good luck! It all begins with communication!
    – Fattie
    Jul 9, 2011 at 12:28
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    I would start with a sleep specialist, and I am dead serious about that. The sleep specialist isn't going to run right out and tell you to use sleeping pills. They are going to run tests to see exactly what they are dealing with. Jul 9, 2011 at 20:36
  • This question falls outside the scope defined within the faq. It sounds too medically related, and I think the best course of action is to see a specialist as other people have noted.
    – user241
    Mar 5, 2012 at 0:25

4 Answers 4


Here's a related question: How to get rid of oversleeping?

Although your situation sounds worse. If you're taking a nap during the day you should stop. Are you exercising at all? If not, try going for a run after work or lifting weights at the local gym. Exercising will help you in many ways: it will make you physically tired, it will get your mind off of other things for a while, and it will produce endorphin's that will make your happy. Exercise will also reduce your weight which will make sleeping easier if you're overweight.

In order to stop your restless mind there are several things you can do. First, spend about an hour before bed relaxing and not thinking about anything too important. Read a book, watch something boring on TV, or paint. Second, write down anything you think you need to know for the next day and leave the list on your night stand. If you have it written down, and therefor can't forget it, perhaps your mind wont dwell on it all night.

Your diet might also be preventing you from getting a good nights sleep. Do you drink much caffeine? Try cutting it out of your diet after noon. Do you eat only large meals during the day? Try eating smaller, but more frequent meals. Try reducing your sugar intake.

My last suggestion is to find a partner and engage in safe passionate moments after you've crawled into bed. The chemicals that pump through your body post coitus is very conducive for sleeping.


Here is one more possibility to throw out there: you may be dealing with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea doesn't have anything to do with your physical activity or your diet. Both my friend and I deal with the ailment, and long before I started getting active he has always been active and healthy. Yet we both deal with it.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when your air ways become obstructed while you are asleep. When I got tested for sleep apnea, I stopped breathing 1/4 of the time--particularly when I should have been in REM sleep.

Some of the symptoms I dealt with which caused my doctor to order a sleep study were:

  • Always waking up tired even after a full night's sleep
  • Quality of sleep was always bad regardless of the quantity
  • Nodding off while driving home from work (that was scary for me)
  • Severe snoring at night
  • Wife complained about me stopping breathing on occasion (this really scared her)

Sleep Study

A sleep study is when you go to a controlled center and they hook up all kinds of sensors to you. The sensors monitor brain activity, muscle twitching, breathing, heart rate, etc. You sleep at the center and they record what the sensors give them. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will likely get a second session to figure out how much air pressure you need for a CPAP machine.

Sleeping with a CPAP machine

It takes some getting used to the air constantly blowing into your nose while you are sleeping, but it doesn't take too long. When you wake up in the morning you will be refreshed for the first time in a really long time. The hope is of course that as you continue to use the CPAP machine you will eventually no longer need it.

Unhelpful Doctors

The first treatment most doctors attempt is to order sleeping pills. If you are sleeping alone in bed you don't have someone to tell you if you snore incessantly or if your breathing stops at all. You won't have that information to give to your doctor.

Ask them to order you a sleep study to rule out anything else because the pills are not working. You will know definitively whether you have sleep apnea, or some other ailment that is affecting your sleep quality. You need to emphasize the fact that the pills don't help, the doctor should start looking at other symptoms at that point. If not, seek a second opinion or go to a sleep specialist.


You should be to try and get your circadian rythm back on track. This is not a quick fix, it requires patience and effort, but should be your best bet.

The first order of business is basic sleep hygiene.

Try to go to sleep at the same time every day. Avoid anything that interferes with your sleep, such as

  • caffeine late in the day
  • eating close to bed, or eating a difficult-to-digest dinner
  • strenuous exercise close to bed, it takes about 3h for your metabolism to wind down
  • blue light in the evening. Light with a low color-temperature is ok.
  • Taking melatonin can help you feel sleepy, but should only be used temporarily. Don't screw with your hormones.

A Zeo or visiting a sleep lab could help you measure the quality of your sleep and pinpoint problems.

Also, try to wake up properly. This will make it much easier to go to sleep later, and subsequently improve the quality of your sleep.

  • Expose yourself to blue light in the morning. Sunlight is best, light therapy devices work, too.
  • Eat breakfast. The first meal is a strong signal to your body that a new day has begun, particularly if you haven't eaten for 16h or so.

I used to sleep for 12 hours regularly for my entire life. After discovering that I am allergic to wheat, and have completely quit eating it, I sleep less. Get a blood test to look into whether you may have a food allergy (celiac for example).

Additionaly, the airflow through my nose is obstructed, causing me to wake up with a really dry mouth. A couple years ago I started using breath-rite nasal strips to open up my nose so that my breathing through it is unobstructed. Now, if I forget to use a breath-rite overnight I wake up absolutely exhausted due to the lack of airflow. It is possible that I have sleep apnea when I don't use the nasal strip, but when I have the strip opening up my nose for greatly increased flow I reduce or eliminate the effects.

Look into your diet. Check for allergies. 38% of the people with celiac disease (allergic to wheat gluten) have NO symptoms. I personally get absolutely exhausted after eating wheat- especially waffles or even worse- Panda Express, which has wheat and also soy (which has wheat in it)- plus all the sugar. I would do a blood test for iron because celiac can cause anemia, due to the fact that it kills all the villi in your intestines so that you no longer absorb nutrients and have an allergic reaction to almost everything you eat.

Understand that the food that you buy in a box is man-made from chemicals- garbage God never intended us to eat. If you can't pronounce the words in the ingredient list you should not be putting it into your body.

Eat fruits and vegetables and exercise. Another cause of excess sleeping is depression, but 30 hours of sleep is such a crazy amount of sleep you must have something more serious going on. Maybe anemia? Maybe anemia caused by celiac disease?

Go to a naturopath because they actually look into your whole lifestyle and diet and try to fix you. Medical doctors are only trained to cut things out and prescribe poison pharmaceutical drugs that cause your body ph to become acidic so you get cancer.

An M.D. might give you the celiac blood test if you could convince them that you want it bad enough- then if you have it they'll tell you, "You have celiac, don't at wheat. Also you have IBS. Good luck." Completely worthless.

Go to a naturopath- they cure causes (lifestyle and diet). MDs cover symptoms with toxic drugs and cut things out. It is not their fault- they only know what they are trained.

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