What To Do When Falling Asleep While Gaming

So, uh, does anyone know what happens in the Red Dead Redemption 2 stranger mission with the photographer and, was there a coyote in it? I may have fallen asleep while playing it last night.

Readers, I am not knocking RDR2, which I'm happily sauntering through. I'm instead recognising my limits as a tired father of two whose gaming time has been tight these last few weeks, and for whom the daylight savings time switch this week did his babies and himself few favours.

I've been falling asleep with a game controller more this season than I ever have before in my life. I also have developed new strategies for not squandering the precious little weeknight gaming time I can manage.

One strategy involves being at peace with playing huge games only incrementally. Another is remembering to make multiple manual saves in case I need to — yes, this is embarrassing — go back to the part before I fell asleep and try it again.

A couple of weeks ago, I conked out during a misadventure in Red Dead's New Orleans-like St. Denis. When I woke up, I realised I had no idea how one of the sidequests I'd just done had ended. Had I played the last part of it in my sleep? Is that possible? Or had my brain just not saved my progress, even though my PS4 had, such that I then woke up on my couch further in the game but with no memory of how I got there?

In any case, my eye-rest had left me invigorated, so I then played another hour into the game. The lost time bugged me, though. I couldn't remember how that pre-slumber sidequest had ended. The next day, I loaded an old save just to play it again, but then switched back to my newer save to basically continue the true timeline of my game.

Some might suggest I need caffeine, but that's not my style. Two glasses of red wine last night didn't help. The second definitely got me drowsy. Some nights, I go for runs. That wakes me up, so maybe I'll do that tonight, then gallop around virtually without fear of sudden fatigue.

What a silly problem to have, but maybe you doze off when playing games, too? Offer your tips below! 


    I just listen to my body and go to bed.

      Out of curiosity, are you a parent? 10 months ago, I'd have given that same answer. Now, however when I wake up at 4am every single day of the week, baby nap times are short and it's almost impossible to get her down for the evening at a reasonable hour, gaming time comes in very short supply and must be cherished.

      This often results in falling asleep while game. This article was written for me and I'll be eternally grateful for Stephen's tips.

      To each their own though =)

    I'm not a doctor, but I don't think it's a good sign if you're falling asleep without meaning to, while supposedly engaged in activities that require concentration. Your body should be giving you ample warning before actually shutting down without asking permission, and you should be paying attention to those warnings to avoid getting into that situation. It seems like the biological equivalent of driving around with your check engine light on, and deciding that this means you'll have to live with re-starting your suddenly-stopped engine while driving every now and then.

      A lot of the articles lately seem to be based on trying to complete massive games whilst on limited time.

      Seems to me the obvious solution is 'game less'. They're just too big and all encompassing now for those of us with full time jobs, kids AND other hobbies. It's not healthy to try and 100% every open world game before the next comes out. In fact, it's not possible.

      I just game when I can. A lot less than I used to. I enjoy it just as much though. I'm not 19 anymore. I'm 38 with responsibilities, obligations and things I want to achieve, which all take precedence over my fun time.

        I'm probably going to have kids in a couple years. I'll be about your age. I'll have to weigh up responsible child-rearing and spouse-care, increased responsibilities at work as I continue to work my way up, self-care in an aging body, and... game releases.

        Pretty sure I know what's going to have to give and I dislike the idea. For a while I'm sure I'll try to make 'sleep' the factor that has some give in it. It won't last.

        The only solution appears to be winning the lotto and retiring. And even then, it won't be possible to complete my Steam backlog in one human lifetime. The approaching high tide of mortality seems to be about accepting just how much I'm not going to get to see or do. I intensely resent this.

          I intensely resent this.

          This. Every second, I don't busy myself doing something I either need or want to do, my brain defaults to this resentment. I just cannot accept it.

          Completely unexpected, but as a new dad I've literally never had more time to game.

          Finally finishing grand open world games like BotW, AC:O and Elex.

          My little man is either feeding or sleeping. So there's a lot of downtime, with no heading out (thanks Uber Eats!).

          Mind you, I'm under no illusion life will stay this easy for long...

            No kids for me, but my friends with kids hardly go out any more. So while there is the trade off of losing time to raise the kids they gain all that time where they're not going out drinking and partying :P

            For the author of the article. Maybe a better approach would be to talk to your partner and work out "me days" where they do the work and you get to chill and game for a longer stretch. If your thing is gaming that's no different to negotiating with your partner to do other stuff like golf, or fishing, or a boys/girls night out.

            Obviously it works both ways, so you'll sacrifice some of your gaming time on other days so your partner can do what they want.

            And yeah, like others have said, if you're nodding off don't push through it. Take a nap, or get a proper nights sleep. If this is happening while gaming it's a worry that it could happen during more serious activities - like driving or when you're supposed to be watching your kid.

          Having a kid does drastically reduce your free time, but not forever. A few years - a long time - but as someone on the other side, I have plenty of time for the odd big game. Sometimes with my daughter (now seven) - we have collectively sunk many many hours into a shared Minecraft world. She likes watching games too. She would rather I was playing GTA but does like the horses in Red Dead.

      I often fall asleep (pass out) on the bus when heading home from work late in the afternoon, I'm usually reading at the time and dropping the book usually wakes me up.

      No warning either, just awake reading one sec next I'm waking up four stops past where I was supposed to get off.

    (Also, re: the Photographer who gets his bag stolen by the coyote: you chase it down, kill the coyote (who you can't skin), then return the bag to the photographer who is grateful. You trade quips and go your separate ways. No big plot revelations or ability unlocks missed, there.)

    This may be a sign of Narcolepsy. Not trying to self-diagnose you, but as someone who suffers from it, I know all too well what you are talking about.

    I used to do it quite often during Mass Effect 2 and Witcher 3. That was just me staying up late as a youth. After fatherhood struck, I often find myself dozing off mid-level.

    However, the other comments are correct. It’s not normal. You’re probably so exhausted all it takes is a lack of expectation and elevated feet lol

    This sounds concerning that you've fallen asleep while playing.

    Only time I've done this is when I was unwell and should of really been in bed sleeping instead of gaming.

      i used to do it all the time but I was actively staying up until I was completely exhausted playing games. Totally not a healthy thing to do at all, especially if I had stuff to do the next day.

    Happrned to me with witcher 3 on the weekend. Dozed off when some guy was explaining the war. Decided that I needed a nap amd took one.
    I think this mainly happens to me in rpgs whrre you have dialog trees and open worlds where u r just pressing a button to get from A to B.

    Teach a bot how you play and when you fall asleep it can take over for you!!!

    In Classic WoW the UI code was pretty open so me and my guildies programned a heal bot program for raiding... I feel asleep on CoreHounds and woke up in the niddke of a Ragnaros pull... still topping the heal meters. One guildy who helped wrote the bot was sending my toon whispers toget the bot to set follows and stand still.

    Then blizzard broke it with 2.0

    Man I must be the only person who will never pass out while playing a game (or watching a movie for that matter). As someone who has diagnosed Sleep Apnea (and from that I need to get my license checked yearly since I don't treat it) and one of the symptoms is supposed to be extreme tiredness and falling asleep, it irks me that I have the opposite problem when trying to sleep.

      That is really weird, dude. I have Sleep Apnoea as well. Extremely severe, in fact (wake up almost once every minute). I have been very successfully treated for about eight months now (after 10+ years without) and I still have absolutely no trouble sleeping.

      If I lay down, I'll conk out.
      Mid game? Likely to doze off over a keyboard.
      Watch a movie after work? Forget about it.

      In all seriousness, I can't recommend highly enough that you get treated. While I still have the tendency to doze off, I feel infinitely better at all hours of the day. Especially mentally.

      Best thing I ever did was get dental appliance that gives you a mild jaw thrust.

        Yeah I've definately noticed that if I jut my jaw out the airway becomes clearer. I'm going back to the clinic next year (woo public health) and might look into options. There are the odd cases I wake up suffocating which usually result in me panicking and having to calm myself and remembering how to breathe and while they are few and far between, it's still not pleasant. + I can't sleep on my back and it's the one place I can get a good night sleep :(

        What treatment do you have tofuzombie? I tried the CPAP machine and struggled to get a nights sleep out of it.

          Not trying to be mean or body shame, but are you overweight? I was diagnosed a few years back with mild obstructive sleep apnoea and dropping a few kilos helped with that for me. Way better result than trying to using a CPAP machine.

            I'm probably about a good solid 20-30 kg overweight. But I've always had the issue even before I got a bit slack with my body shape. But yeah I do hear what you're saying. I def need to work on getting back into shape. And sticking to it.

              It does help. I was up to about 40kg over my fittest weight a few years back. Dropped 15kg and it's helped quite a bit. It's a pain, and it's slow and hard work but I hated the CPAP machine and the mouth guard thingie, so seems like a much better option, for me at least.

    Assassin's Creed 3 put me to sleep.
    Connor was so boring, I'd fall asleep during his cut scenes

    I'm a parent and I love rdr2. it is very entertaining but at least twice I have woken up to a vibrating controller and a npc wanting to duke it out cause I was zoning out mid game.

    Tired father with stressful full time job, reporting for duty. Happens to me in RDR2 also. Probably because the non action parts of the game are SO relaxing and pretty. I find chewing something, or doing a few jumping jacks helps me take advantage of the limited gaming time I have.

    Yep, father of 3 and in my 40s, so perhaps the body isn't as resilient as it used to be. I could sit down not feeling tired at all and be asleep within 10 mins. I think it has to do with the idea that your body is sitting down, doing something that it finds restful or self indulgent and boom.. you go into shutdown.
    I used to have this happen to be in Diablo 3 all the time even if I was sitting next to someone playing couch co-op. I find often if I just close my eyes I'll get a 15 min cat nap and then I'll be ok to go for another hour or so.. Fighting it just makes you play worse, miss things and have a less enjoyable experience.

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