People Are Breaking Returnal By Sleeping Over And Over

People Are Breaking Returnal By Sleeping Over And Over
Image: Housemarque / Returnal

Returnal‘s difficulty has been hotly debated this week, but players have found a way to completely nullify most of the challenge thanks to a time-honoured tradition: sleeping.

It’s something you’re only able to do in the game’s first or fourth biomes, meaning it only works in levels where Selene has access to her ship. The good news is that the trick works whether you’re in the first, second or third acts, since each will return you to the crashed Helios at one point.

Being able to repeatedly re-heal for free and without compromising your run isn’t just a huge advantage — it can fundamentally rewrite the entire script on Returnal‘s difficulty. The game is tuned to reward players if they don’t take damage: any health pick-ups will automatically be converted into health upgrades if the player is at full HP. So as long as you can survive the next fight, all you have to do is make sure you’re at max HP beforehand, and then you’ll be able to continually grow your health at the start of each fight.

Thing is: how do you make sure you’re always at full HP?

The answer is pretty simple. All you have to do is travel back to Selene’s crashed ship, the Helios:


Inside the ship, past the computer that records your stats and lets you do daily challenges, you’ll find a small room with a bed. (If you’ve finished the game’s second act, you’ll also walk past another room along the way, but ignore that as it’s not relevant for what we’re talking about here.)

The bed is great if you just want to see.a quick flashback of Selene’s memories, or a short smash-cut scene of the game’s eerie vibe. But it also has an understated benefit that the game never tells you about: every time you go to sleep, Selene will heal back up.

Just take a nap. Image: Returnal

And that’s literally it. Going back and forth to your ship will absolutely extend the length of your Returnal run. If you’re already taking issue with Returnal because the prospect of a two, three or four hour run is too difficult to fit into your day, then this tip totally won’t help. It’s worth noting that if you’ve got an upgraded health bar, you might have to sleep two or even three times. Just note that if you have to do this, you’ll need to leave the ship and re-enter to use the bed again.

In one run, where my HP bar was upgraded to 170%, Helios only healed me to about 130%. But a second nap topped Selene all the way back up, all for the cost of another creepy dream.

But for everyone who is struggling with Returnal‘s first biome, or anyone who has a spare night and wants to make a proper crack at knocking off a huge chunk of the game in a single sitting, this is an absolute lifesaver. It’ll mean you’ll have the biggest health bar humanly possible before hitting that all-important 25 per cent HP upgrade at the fabricator. All you have to do is be patient, not die in a single fight, and have a nap. Several naps, really.


  • I get the feeling that the speedruns of this game are going to be something to behold if people are working out these tricks so early.

    • Considering this actually makes the game longer, I’m not sure it’ll be that useful for speedrunning.

      • It’s active in the first area, so hypothetically they could use it to get more HP as a safety net for any later cheese fairly early on. But speedrunners are a special breed, so I’m happy to wait and see.

        • I’d imagine the most optimal method of speedrunning would be avoiding damage and deaths, or at least as much as possible. If you watch speedruns of almost any game but especially games like the Souls series, they find the most optimal way to defeat the bosses without taking damage. There are some cases where they would take an intentional hit or death to bypass or shortcut through an area or to quickly return to an earlier checkpoint or something, but for the most part they’d be avoiding damage. They almost certainly wouldn’t want to be wasting time going backwards. This will be no different.

  • Man.. that feels so cheap! I have made it up to the fourth Biome, and I know for a fact, had I been able to heal up every time my HP got down, I would have nearly triple my life bar (if you’re at full health when you find health in game, it adds to your max hp).

    • Triple is exactly right. I tried it this morning – had 300pc health before the third boss and had literally maxed out all the artifacts you could hold.

      Going to do a thing on Tuesday (because I’m off tomorrow) showing the difference in the boss fights. It’s nutty.

      • I had an interesting experience with the game. My first playthrough I got up to Ixion. I almost beat him as well but I was unsure how lives / death worked etc (I died during my first Phrike fight but the astronaut brought me back so I confused the astronaut with the reconstructor). Imagine my horror when I died to Ixion when he had maybe 1/3 of his final health bar left and I spawned back outside the boss room after blowing all my consumable etc.

        I also remember thinking to myself “This game isn’t as hard as everyone is saying” during my first play through. Then it taking something like 10 more playthroughs to even get back up to Ixion (that being said I did manage to beat him and then Nemesis on my first attempt).

        Quite a fun game, but the sleep thing sounds like it will cheapen the experience hugely… (although I am on Biome 4, and if that trick works on Biome 4….. ;D )

      • Spoilers using exploits already?

        I am definitely not buying this game now, it just seems like a such a letdown.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!